Sao Tome et Principe: Second Artisanal Fisheries Development Project

Sao Tome and Principe  
diciembre 1992

The project

Introduction

The USD 3.3 million Second Artisanal Fisheries Development Project was approved in December 1990 and became effective in April 1992. The IFAD loan amounts to SDR 1.2 million, co-financing is provided by the French FAC for FF 4.5 million. Government and beneficiaries contribute USD 1 million. Disbursement in November 1994 was 41%. The Cooperating Institution is UNDP/OPS which carried out a total of five supervision missions.

The project is the followup to the first phase, focussed mostly on the distribution of imported fishing equipment, outboard engines and spare parts, and on providing maintenance facilities. Although there was a significant increase in production (according to the estimates of the Mid-term Evaluation of December 1988 and the Mid-term Review of March 1990) a number of constraints and issues arose during the implementation of the first phase, namely that:

  • project autonomy generated a certain degree of confusion between Project Management and the Fisheries Directorate in terms of responsibilities for the project and for the formulation of a policy of coherent interventions enabling a more rational use of the total fish resources of the country:
  • no mechanism to channel the foreign exchange that was needed to finance imports had been established. Thus, foreign exchange was only available through the project or from the Japanese grant;
  • frequent unavailability of fuel constituted an increasing constraint in maintaining a sufficient return on investment in boats and engines. Credit repayments to the "Caisse Populaire" (on loans for engine purchase) severely dropped at the end of the first phase;
  • the policy of Dobra devaluation, combined with the artificial prices practiced by the project (distributing equipment from the Japanese grant) made it impossible for private traders to be involved in the market. The project became the sole supplier and distributor of equipment and spare parts for the artisanal sub-sector;
  • the project had administered a sizeable stock of items for which no or little demand existed, which consequently remained unsold; and
  • support to associations, technical advice and extension on improvement of fishing techniques were insignificant.

The second phase was aimed at maintaining the increased level of investment and production capacity achieved under the first phase (while expanding the total area covered by the project to include the island of Principe); from the implementation of the latter, the following lessons and considerations were drawn and incorporated in the design of the second phase:

  • a clear responsibility for the implementation of the project needed to be established by integrating it in the Fisheries Directorate, whose strategic planning capacity would then be strengthened;
  • a mechanism to earmark foreign exchange revenue in the industrial sector for use in the artisanal subsector would need to be set up;
  • distribution and service activities ought to be turned over to the private sector within the framework of the liberalisation of the economy; prices would then be adjusted gradually in order to provide a competitive market environment and a better basis for fishermen to make their projections and return calculations;
  • fishermen's associations should constitute a basis for community development once provided with appropriate training, technical advice, extension and management support. They would need to fulfil a function in the expression of demands for inputs and would also assure the retail function vis-à-vis their members as well as fuel distribution;
  • in view of reinforcing human resources, it was deemed necessary to provide substantial technical assistance, particularly in order to improve existing fishing techniques.

Objectives

The objectives of the project are to: i) increase the well being and income of the artisanal fishermen and the saleswomen; ii) contribute to the formulation of a rational sector policy; iii) develop autonomous fishermen organisations and to establish a financing mechanism which would assure the sustainability of inputs supply; and iv) consolidate the production potential which had been built up during the first project.

The project's strategy takes into account the limited fish resources within reach of the artisanal fishermen and focusses on consolidation of previous investments and the increase in their productivity rather than on extending new investments in boats, engines and fishing gear.

Target group

The target group includes all families that are directly or indirectly involved in the artisanal fishery sub-sector, or about 2 000 fishermen and 2 000 sales women, a total family population of 18 000 persons. Estimated household income from fisheries is about USD 160 per head, less than half the 1990 per capita GDP of USD 322.

Components

The project includes the following four components.

Support to Distribution and Maintenance The project provides the required foreign exchange through an Artisanal Fisheries Development Fund (AFDF), to be established, for the import by the private sector of fishing gear, replacement outboard engines and spare parts. Demand estimates will be provided by the Fishermen Associations. Foreign exchange counterpart funds will be used to establish a credit line in the Caisse Populaire to allow Associations to buy the required inputs. The central project repair workshop will be privatized and regional private workshops will be supported.

Extension Development and Institutional Support The project initiates an extension programme focussing on the improved use of traditional techniques. To bring more of the open water fish within reach of the artisanal fishermen, tests with the Fish Concentration Device (FCD), successfully applied elsewhere, will be undertaken. Major improvements in sailing techniques are possible and the project will undertake a demonstration programme. Technical assistance for 30 months have been included. Institutional support will involve the construction of additional office space and the provision of several support missions by short term experts in unsold stock management and disposal, sectoral policy formulation, and in the design of operating procedures of the AFDF.

Support to Associations The project will support 10 existing Fishermen Associations and will promote the creation of new association on beaches where they do not exist. They will be active in input supply and support will be provided in the construction of community centers. Women groups will be promoted which will procure boats to be rented out to fishermen. A pilot exercise with a women group managing a fish transport vehicle will be undertaken. Training will be provided to repair mechanics and selected NGOs will implement health activities in fishermen villages. Consultant support is foreseen for the training of project staff and for the design of a simple accounting system for Associations.

Monitoring and Evaluation Taking into account a planned project for the evaluation of maritime resources and an ongoing UNDP project for price and market statistics, the support to M&E remains limited to the analysis of the data generated by these external sources and to the establishment of links between project activities and the data provided. A project reporting system will be drawn up. IFAD will provide consultant support to design the M&E system. Staff training and funds for specific studies have been included.

Organisation and implementation

The Fisheries Directorate, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will be responsible for the implementation of the project. A Technical Department in the Fisheries Directorate will be established which will include the extension and community development staff, while a Monitoring and Evaluation Unit will be attached to the Directorate.

The AFDF will be established as an account in the Central Bank. The annual allocation of foreign currency is made available to the Chamber of Commerce, who will be responsible for the import of required inputs. The Caisse Populaire will manage the credit line for Associations. The extension programme will be implemented by the Technical Department at both islands of the country. Test results of the FCDs and of improved fishing techniques will be recorded in detail in collaboration with the M&E unit. The institutional support component will be implemented by the project management. Support to Associations will be implemented both by the project and the Cooperative League of the USA, (CLUSA), an NGO.

Context and results

Context

Under government's macro-economic policies, the currency has been devalued from Db145=1 USD in 1990 to Db960=1USD in November 1994 or by 85%. Simultaneously energy subsidies have been abolished, nearly doubling the price of petrol. Inputs for fisheries have been subsidized with the help of Japanese grant funding which terminates in 1995. Fish selling prices have followed the general inflation trend and as a result, in commercial market prices and in the absence of subsidies, the squeeze on the gross margin is increasing for fishermen using techniques which depend largely on imported items for its operations such as fuel, spare parts and replacement of engines. Mission estimates indicate negative returns on motorized boats using imported fishing gear. With the official recognition of the parallel foreign exchange market, the scarcity of foreign exchange for the purpose of trade imports has been largely eliminated and the need for the establishment of the AFDF is no longer obvious. After the establishment of a new government,in October 1994, the fisheries sector became the responsibility of the new Ministry of Trade, Industry, Tourism, Agriculture and Fisheries.

Results

The lack of data refering to the situation before the project, even on a sample basis related to a limited number of beaches, does not allow the effects of the activities financed to be measured. No general trend of production increase or improvement of the quality of life can therefore be identified. Nevertheless, on the beaches visited by the Mission there appeared to be a strong demand by the fishermen for spare parts, fishing gear and related short-term credit, as well as a widespread need for the transportation and conservation of fish.

As far as the formulation of a fishing resource management policy is concerned, no progress has been made nor has an attempt been started in this sense.

In the third year of the project, the objective of developing autonomous male and female fishermen organisations linked to the private sector for their supply in fishing gear and fuel could not be reasonably attained. Nevertheless, the underlying conditions that will enable these objectives to be met in the fifth year were not found at the time of the evaluation. This situation is revealed by the slight diversification and the artificial, subsidized network of the economic activities of the associations, and the lack of an autonomous financing mechanism.

Target Group: the 29 associations that have been set up (23 fishermen, 6 palayés) gather less than half of the expected total beneficiaries of 4 000 persons, with a marked imbalance toward the fishermen.

Project achievements are reviewed below by component. Start-up was delayed by lengthy procedures with co-financier FAC and negotiations with CLUSA on an implementation contract. Field activities started in 1993 and by the time of the Mid-Term Evaluation, 20 months of experience had been accumulated.

Support to distribution and maintenance

In early 1993, the government received a third equipment grant for the artisanal fisheries sub-sector from Japan. It included boats, outboard engines, nets, cloth for sails, ropes, lines, hooks, etc. Sale prices were set by the Ministry of Trade at about 10% of commercial prices, which induced leakages to other sectors or to other countries in the region. Under these conditions, involvement of private traders in the supply of similar inputs at normal market prices was not possible. In view of the difficulty of mobilizing the private sector for the supply of fishery inputs, the project promoted the establishment in 1993 of a Federal Union of Fishermen Associations (FUFA), which however would have to face the same financial constraints. In March 1994, the Artisanal Fisheries Development Fund (AFDF) was formally established by decree. Operating modalities still need to be defined. As the AFDF is not yet effective, the counterpart funds for the credit line also have not been generated. Two draft subsidiary agreements with the Caisse Populaire have been drawn up which need adjustments to reflect the project intentions better (interest rates, loan ceilings, signing authority). The central workshop was privatized without a prior feasibility study. Essential equipment for outboard engine repair was removed and activities now focus on vehicle repair. Due to the lack of credit, strengthening of regional workshops did not take place.

Extension development and institutional support

The external projects which were supposed to generate information about fish resources and the structure of the artisanal sector have not provided the expected results, which made the design and implementation of an extension programme difficult. The project has itself undertaken an inventory of the, rather selective, fishing techniques in use. Productivity can be raised with simple means. Boat design can be improved to reduce wear and tear. Sailing techniques and the use of sailing in up-wind directions are constrained by the low quality of sail material in use (old polyester sacks) and by the design of the sail. After the first eight Fish Concentrating Devices (FDC) installations, five were damaged or disappeared: two for technical reasons, one was destroyed by a fisherman and the other two disappeared for unknown reasons. Initial results seem to indicate a substantial increase in productivity per boat from 1-2 kg of fish per hour without FCD to about 4-5 kg/hr with FCD. Institutionally, the project has not been integrated in the structure of the Fisheries Directorate and operates as a separate autonomous entity directly reporting to the Minister. The new project office was finalized in October 1994. None of the consultant support foreseen has been used.

Support to associations

At present there are 23 fishermen associations, including a total of 1 043 members or an average of 45 members per association. The six associations of trade women are smaller with membership ranging between 15 and 25. In most associations, the accounting system is still embryonic and does not allow members to exercise an effective control over management. Economic activities mostly include the sale of fishing equipment and gear with pricing policies not always discriminating against non-members, thereby demotivating members to pay their regular contributions. Several associations are also involved in the operation of a small store where essential consumer goods are sold. On the whole, economic activities are only yielding marginal results because of the lack of initial capital. Stocks normally are worth about USD 50. Three out of the six women groups have already acquired a motorized boat which is rented out to fishermen. The provision of a transport vehicle to the women group in Santa Catarina has not yet been realized. A total of 12 Community Centers have been constructed, of which four were initiated under the first phase of the project, six are still in progress and four more are being programmed. Because of lack of people's involvement, some centers were constructed in locations or for reasons which were not accepted by the associations. Several centers served as campaign offices for party staff during the last election campaigns. Association members receive recurrent training under the CLUSA support programme. Project efforts in training have been more sporadic. Training of mechanics has not been initiated. Instead of supporting NGO's in health programmes, the project has trained 12 members of associations as health agents and equipped them with a batch of medicines including antibiotics and requiring the use of syringes. The mission considers that, taking into account the basic training level of the agents, this operation carries a definite health risk.

Monitoring and evaluation

The staff responsible for M&E was sent to Portugal for a six month training course, mainly in handling of computer programmes. While some of the required information has not been provided by external projects such as the Resource Evaluation Project, other detailed information on the functioning of associations is available at CLUSA but it has not been presented or analyzed properly in project progress reports. Such reports have not been produced to an acceptable standard during the whole course of the project. IFAD support in the drawing up of the M&E system, as foreseen at appraisal, has not been realized.

Project management and administration

Project management is weak and lacks initiative. Programming of activities on the basis of the project strategy and the corresponding budgeting has not been undertaken. Together with the lack of proper reporting, this makes it impossible to compare what was intended to be achieved with actual results and with the corresponding expenditures. Financial reports of project expenditures have been prepared, but they do not relate to project activities but to categories of expenditures. The only available audit report covers 1993 and is not up to standard.

Supervision

The Cooperating Institution, UNDP/OPS, has carried out five supervision missions since the beginning of the project. The most important constraints affecting proper implementation had already been identified by the supervision mission of November 1992. These include: the weak capacities of the project management, especially in programming, budgeting and M&E; the need to monitor closely the financial return of using outboard engines in view of rising fuel, maintenance and replacement costs; and the requirement to explore the potential of improved sailing techniques, the improvement of traditional fishing techniques and the support to processing and marketing. These issues are repeatedly mentioned by all subsequent supervision missions, but no solutions have been applied. The Evaluation mission considers that a better translation of these issues into operational recommendations should have been sought in order to guide and stimulate improvement in project performance. This would have involved the actions that the Mission recommends below: the provision of technical assistance in project management, the replacement of the staff responsible for M&E by an economist, the modification of the proposals for the supply of inputs and the shift in emphasis towards non-motorized techniques. The Evaluation mission took note of the commitment in November 1993 of the Minister of Trade, Industry, Tourism and Fisheries vis-à-vis the supervision mission to raise the sales prices of equipment received under the Japanese grant to commercial levels, which was not subsequently applied in practice.

Recommendations

Objectives and strategy In the present and future macro framework, high import intensity technologies are not sustainable. The maintenance of the production potential thus should be achieved by the application of low costs, alternative technologies, based on the use of FCDs, improved fishing techniques and use of the sail.

Target group The target group should not change, but a greater effort needs to be undertaken to raise the participation rate of women, which at present is 10%.

Support to Distribution and Maintenance A simple inputs import scheme, based on quick turn-over to avoid financial and storage costs can be implement by the Chamber of Commerce. Traders will replenish the required foreign exchange from their own sources. Project support to Associations will be provided to establish Revolving Funds through matching grants. This will allow Associations to buy their inputs cash, avoiding the need for credit. The consultancy on stock disposal needs to be undertaken urgently as a large unsold stock is kept by the project under quickly deteriorating conditions. The essential equipment needs to be placed back in the privatized central workshop and the project should support a private workshop on Principe island.

Extension Development and Institutional Support It is recommended that the project undertakes its own, limited data gathering concerning an inventory of fishermen, boats, engines, fishing gear used and the basic parameters required to estimate stock evolution. A demonstration programme on improved fishing techniques needs to be implemented. A consultancy on improved boat design needs to be undertaken to improve the lifespan of boats. An exchange programme with fishermen from Mozambique to improve sailing techniques is recommended. FCDs should be constructed with as much fishermen participation as possible. The technical assistance contracted should be extended by one year to implement the demonstration and FCD programme. Transport vehicle management should be undertaken on a pilot basis by two women groups. A female volunteer should be recruited to implement a fish conservation and processing programme with women groups. The consultancy on policy formulation should be undertaken quickly, now that government has changed.

Support to Associations Project support should focus on monitoring and further training of existing associations. The contract with CLUSA therefore needs to be extended as foreseen for two years. Project staff in Community Development should be trained in Burkina Faso. Mechanics training should be undertaken as foreseen and the design of simple accounting systems needs to be realized. Further implementation of the community centers and health activities needs to be reconsidered to improve people's participation in the former and to reduce village pharmacies to current medicines in the latter.

Monitoring and evaluation

An economist should be recruited to head the M&E Department of the project. A three-months support mission by an international expert will allow the establishment of a simple, operational system on the basis of selected indicators. The M&E system will be closely coordinated with the CLUSA system and some additional work to be undertaken by CLUSA will be subject of a covenant to the contract with the project.

Project management and audit

The management capacities of the project staff are insufficient and need strengthening. It is therefore recommended that an expert in project management be recruited for 15 months, to assist the project director in all his tasks, including the implementation of the above described recommendations. It is essential to carry out as soon as possible an audit of all project accounts, beginning from the first disbursement in 1992 up to the end of 1994. If necessary, further disbursements should be postponed to enforce this recommendation.

Costs and financing

The impact of the recommendations on the remaining project funds has been estimated. It is based on the project budget for the last two implementation years and on the recommendations of the Mission. It assumes the discontinuation of support to regional workshops; construction of community centers; credit financing of a vehicle for women groups (for which an NGO has expressed interest); the health programme; and the support mission to define the operating procedures of the AFDF. Other support missions have been shortened. The costs of input distribution has been reduced by the assumed higher turn-over of stocks.

Recommended new activities include the funding of the matching grants for the revolving funds of associations; the development and improvement of boats; the support to marketing and processing, including the recruitment of a female volunteer; the fishermen exchange programme with the IFAD project in Mozambique; the training of Community Development staff in the GRAAP method in Burkina Faso; the procurement of three motorcycles for the monitrices; and the recruitment of 15 months of management technical assistance. A contingencies allowance has been foreseen.

The Evaluation Mission has taken care to design its recommended adjustments in such a way that they do not constitute a substantial change in the scope of the project, nor in its objectives, components, modalities of execution, target group, procurement and financing. Therefore, the adjustments can be accommodated through a routine amendment of the Loan Agreement to take on the financing of so far unforeseen activities, including the extension programme which also covers the activities to improve boat design; and technical assistance for management. Two categories, Extension Programme and Management Support should be created for this purpose. A reallocation between categories is thus required and a proposal is in the main report.

Follow-up

Following approval of the Mid-Term Evaluation Report by IFAD, it is recommended that the conclusion and recommendations be reviewed and discussed with the government and that assurances on the following specific issues be obtained:

  • the prolongation of the extension programme, including the maintaining of the present expert in place, up to June 1996 on project funding. This is the most effective manner to complete the foreseen programme of putting in place of the FCD's and to extend improved traditional fishing techniques. Alternatives through the mobilisation of additional external funding from the French Cooperation or others carry a high risk of delay, as experienced in the beginning of the project, and would jeopardize the required synchronization with the rest of the project activities;
  • the implementation of a policy of real prices for inputs provided by external sources on grant or other concessional terms. This assurance is crucial for the establishment of an environment in which privatisation of input supply becomes feasible;
  • the amendment of the Loan Agreement along the lines proposed in this report;
  • the carrying out as soon as possible of an audit of all project accounts since 1992, according to internationally acceptable standards.

The assurances on the pricing framework and on the audit are considered of such importance that IFAD may consider to make them conditions for further disbursement.

 

LANGUAGES: English

Minya Agricultural Development Project (1992)

Egypt  
diciembre 1992

Interim evaluation

The Minya governorate constitutes a project area of 223 500 ha of which about 188 120 ha are under cultivation. The cultivated area is generally flat, with fine to medium textured relatively fertile alluvial soils. The climate is characterized by a cool winter from November to March and a hot summer from May to September. The population in 1991 was estimated at 3.50 million, compared to 2.06 million in 1986.

The majority of land is cultivated by small farmers operating as owners, registered tenants, and sharecroppers or as a mixture of all three. In 1991, 44% of all farms were less than one feddan in size and 81% were under three feddans. The cropping pattern (at SAR) was based on a well established two to three-year rotation which had, until recently, been determined by government policy. The main crops are wheat, cotton, berseem, broad beans, maize and soybeans. Livestock are important, with 245 000, 305 000 and 604 000 cattle, buffalo and small ruminants respectively reported in 1991. This reflects a marked increase since the early 1980s in cattle and buffalo and a decrease in camels and donkeys, as a consequence of mechanization.

Project design and objectives

Target group

Smallholder/tenant farming families cultivating holdings of less than three feddans, with an average per capita income, from farming, of USD 75 or less were the target group. While the project was designed to allow extension services to make contact with virtually all farmers in the project area, only about a third (115 500 farming families) were expected to actually benefit from contact with project activities. As well, institutions and their employees are expected to benefit from training, better operating means and incentive payments additional to their salaries.

Objectives and components

The SAR stated that the project "supports the major objectives of the Government's agricultural policy which is to attain as much self-sufficiency in food as possible and to generate foreign exchange". Furthermore, the project was to provide the agricultural sector with the means to increase farm incomes and the standards of living of the people. Crop production increases were to be achieved primarily through improved farm practices rather than increased inputs. The contention was that currently available technology for crop production was adequate but that many farmers needed access to it. To provide access, the project was to re-organize the extension (and to a lesser degree, research) service using the Training and Visit (T&V) System of Extension. To ensure that the recommended crop packages could be implemented, the project was to strengthen some aspects of crop inputs supply and credit facilities. By taking these actions, the project would assist the Government of Egypt (GOE) in implementing its policy of merging research and extension at the governorate, district and field levels.

The project was to achieve its objectives through investment in institutional strengthening; provision for a better supply of a range of agricultural inputs; and through credit. Project activities were to be phased over a six-year period to ensure that sufficient time was allowed for the installation of the T&V system and the procurement and physical construction of all the necessary infrastructure. The following components and sub-components were to be included:

Agricultural development

  • Extension
  • Research
  • Rural stores credit
  • Farm development machinery credit
  • Machinery repairs shop credit
  • Seed processing
  • Seed testing and inspection

Livestock development

  • Rabbit production
  • Chick rearing units
  • Animal health service
  • Abbassieh vaccine centre
  • Artificial insemination
  • Feed mixing plant

Project Coordination Unit (PCU)

Technical Assistance

Expected effects and assumptions

In terms of production, the project was expected to increase the output of most crops grown for which a proven technological package of improvements already exists. By project maturity (Year 9), average increases for all crops were to be about 25% and would range from 44% in the case of maize to only 11% for cotton which has good potential for yield increase but whose production was constrained by government policies. Production benefits from ruminant stock were to result principally from improved fodder availability and improved reproduction performance. Meat production was expected to increase by 40% and milk by 21%, while poultry meat production was expected to increase by about 22%. It was expected that net income increases for farmers highly responsive to project activities would rise by 92% and, for those below average receptivity, by 33%.

The existing extension service was to be reorganized and the T&V system introduced under the guidance of an internationally recruited T&V extension specialist. Where possible, women extension agents were to be recruited to promote small livestock enterprises and better nutrition. Village Extension Workers (VEWs) were expected to reach women engaged in farming activities through their contact farmers. The replicability of the T&V system for other parts of Egypt was to be assessed on the basis of its performance under MADP.

Links between extension and two research centres were to be strengthened through the training and the development of on-farm research based on assessments of farmers' needs.

Evaluation

In accordance with the terms of reference the mission focused on agricultural development essentially as affected by the project's innovative extension system, the appropriateness of crop recommendations developed by research, the extension/research link and the projects' credit component. Agricultural development was taken primarily as crop development; though not part of the focus of the evaluation, some consideration was given to livestock and project management as well. Major policy changes have taken place in Egypt since the inception of the project ten years ago; thus what may have been considered to be appropriate at appraisal may not be appropriate today. For instance, agricultural input supplies were largely government provided and the large-scale commercial production of livestock was in government hands, two situations which are being changed. The mission has tried to keep policy changes in mind during its deliberations.

In order to assess the overall status of the project, the mission reviewed IDA's supervision reports, progress reports prepared by the project and reports prepared by consultants contracted by the project for specific activities. The assessment of the MADP was carried out together with a similar assessment of the Fayoum Agricultural Development Project (FADP) so that experiences from these projects, which have many similarities, could be taken into account by a forthcoming Livestock Production Intensification Project (LPIP) appraisal mission. The mission spent nine days in the project area during which it visited all the nine districts, the two relevant research stations, credit banks and conducted a workshop on T&V experiences which included senior staff at governorate and district levels.

Implementation context

In the context of the general economy the project was conceived at the end of a period of economic boom but implemented during a period of relative austerity. This situation almost certainly contributed to problems with local funding.

By August 1992, some 62.7% of the IFAD loan had been disbursed. Major delays in utilizing funds (particularly the "unallocated" category (not used at all), credit, vehicles and equipment) were caused by government bureaucratic procedures, inter-ministerial delays and difficulties with the letting of tenders under internationally competitive bidding. During the first half of the project life, implementation was constrained by interrupted flows of local funds for incentive salary payment to extension staff, lack of funds for the strengthening of research and extension linkages and for the establishment of the M&E unit (MEU). This situation seriously impeded the proper implementation of the project.

In order to overcome this financial constrain, a grant of USD 752 000 was provided in December 1986 by the Government of the Netherlands through IFAD. The grant was used to complement the local fund contribution of the GOE by financing part of the incentive payments to the extension service staff, all research and extension linkages incentive payments and other recurrent costs incurred by the research scientists and all expenses of establishing an MEU under the PCU.

Project achievements

The project has been instrumental in increasing farm output and strengthening, through the T&V system, the MOALR's advisory service. However, the base for the strengthened extension service as it stands, is fragile and dependent on regular incremental funding.

Infrastructure. The extension centres (and a training center in Minya) have been successfully completed; they provide suitable bases for district staff to operate from, as well as locations for routine VEW training. The MADP had enormous difficulties, however, in implementing activities which involved the production of detailed engineering designs and advertising tenders according to internationally accepted standards and procedures.

Staffing. The project successfully recruited VEWs from within existing complements of field staff. In July 1992, there were some 1 300 VEWs working with the MADP. As well, the necessary numbers of Village Extension Supervisors (VESs to supervise VEWs) and Subject Matter Specialists (SMSs to train the VESs and VEWs) were successfully recruited. Training of SMSs by researchers substantially improved the ability of the latter to teach VEWs existing and new agricultural technologies. Intensive training increased the confidence and ability of the VEWs, and this, combined with incentive payments, better working conditions and a set programme, motivated and enabled the extension service to communicate better with farmers.

Monitoring and Evaluation. The establishment and re-location (from Cairo) of the MEU has added a valuable dimension to the project. Regular surveys on adoption and re-adoption of recommendations as well as farmers' attitudes have been conducted since project inception. However, survey results need more critical evaluation so that full benefits can be made of the mass of data collected.

Effects assessment and sustainability

Effects on Production. Total production has increase very substantially. While much of this upsurge in production must be attributed to other factors, including better varieties and better crop prices, the fact that yields for wheat and maize exceed national averages and the fact that adoption and re-adoption rates for extension recommendations are high strongly points to substantial project impact. The fact that production has increased at a substantially higher rate than population implies that a positive effect on food availability has occurred. Average farm incomes have risen substantially in nominal terms. The deflated income increase for a typical form model corresponds approximately to the SAR's target. There are no data available on what proportion of the increased production was generated by the project's target group, i.e. farmers with less than three feddans of arable land.

Effect on Institutional Strengthening. The project directed substantial attention to supporting the extension activities, both in terms of training and the provision of better operational facilities. As well, the technical capacity of the project's VEWs has been raised, and they are now in a much more secure position when interacting with farmers. While still less than desirable, the linkage between extension and research has been improved, mainly with regard to training. The MADP showed that direct contractual links with research institutes were an effective way of developing specific crop packages and conducting on-farm trails. This example should be generalized for further improvements in future.

Sustainability. One of the objectives of the projects was to develop a sustainable T&V system which could be replicated in other governorates. While there is no doubt that the T&V system is a substantial improvement on the pre-project situations, it has been dependant on substantial incentives and to a lesser degree, expensive inputs of transport. The mission accepts that with the very low wages, incentives are essential (and, indeed, can be usefully manipulated to improve performance) but doubts whether the GOE is prepared to fund and maintain them at a sufficiently high level to sustain the T&V system in its present form.

The MOALR within the governorates is grossly over-staffed (there are numerous employees outside the T&V system). A much smaller cadre of T&V workers who are better trained, better paid and adequately equipped is likely to be more cost-effective in transferring technology. However, it is unlikely that the authorities would accept substantial sudden staff reductions to allow the establishment of such a T&V force. This is a critical issue as to whether an effective extension system can be developed and sustained. Without project funding the T&V system in its current form is not sustainable.

Main issues and recommendations

The rationale between the LPIP and the MADP is, in essence, the same. The following recommendations apply to the LPIP and similar rural development projects.

Organization and Management

The operation of the project was hampered by MOALR's hesitancy in delegating the authority for implementation to the governorate. The two major lessons learnt are, firstly, that the authority and full responsibility for decision making and financial expenditure should be with the governorate, and secondly, that projects should have effective representation at national level. An effective National Coordinating Committee (NCC) could have dealt with the issue of GOE local funding. Thus, projects should ensure that project control (both the financial and implementation authority) is at governorate level. However, to ensure that the projects programs can be implemented, co-operation (particularly regarding financial cash flows) needs to be secured at national level. For this purpose, a functional NCC should be set up. It should be possible to improve the implementation efficiency in future projects by streamlining project organizational arrangements. In particular, the position of Project Coordinator, which is redundant should be suppressed. The PCUs should continue to act as service units run by Managers while Governorate PCCs should assume the full and ultimate authority for the coordination of project implementation. The line agencies would bear full responsibility for the implementation of their programs.

To facilitate relationships between the NCC and the project, a Project Services Office (PSO) should be located with the MOALR's Foreign Agricultural Relations Offices; it should not have financial control for the project. Its responsibility would be to provide services for the governorate PCUs.

The project would have benefitted had its senior officials been better briefed about organization and management; a short-term "project (turn-key) start up" contract, to translate the SAR into a working document and to organize workshops for senior field staff would have been useful. Thus, the appointment of a short-term "turn-key" rural development consultant at the commencement of new IFAD projects is recommended.

As the procurement of vehicles has been a major bone of contention, the purchase details for vehicles have to be accurately defined at SAR; conversely there must be some flexibility in the ability of a project and IFAD to agree on the purchase of alternative vehicles locally in the interest of a project.

Technology Transfer

While the project adopted and modified the T&V system, a considerable number of problems and weaknesses occurred which led to delays in, and modification to, the programs of work. However, the high level of activity attained by the VEWs and increased production by smallholder provides a clear indication of the merits of the system for Egypt.

The immediate weaknesses to be resolved in the extension system are the increased involvement of farmers in localized adaptive-research constraints analysis and on-farm trials; the broader development of the contact farmers and their individual sub-societal farmers' groups away from the co-operatives to be more representative of the marginalized communities; the establishment of a lasting and effective working research and extension at governorate level; the establishment of a permanently staffed agricultural extension training center for staff and leading farmer training; the establishment of a productive Development Support Communication Section; the development of a well researched women's extension programme of activities; the provision of transport and an operational budget including, in the prevailing economic situation, incentives; an overall improvement to the system and effectiveness of organization and management, and the frequent, objective, monitoring and self-evaluation by management of field programme activities.

Whilst many of the above mentioned weaknesses can be rectified, the major improvements can never be achieved until such time as GOE is able to undertake a complete revision of the civil service bureaucracy, reducing the number of extension field staff by at least 75% and increasing the salaries and allowances within the service to levels appropriate to the economy, in association with the provision for locally planned annual work programs with adequate operational funds and transport.

In line with the GOE's policy of reducing the number of public servants and in recognition of the fact that a small but well motivated and better trained extension force could effectively man a modified T&V extension system it is recommended that the ratio of VEW to farmer be increased to at least 1:500.

To allow such a modified system (or indeed any T&V system) to function on a sustainable basis, the following key subsidiary recommendations are made:

funds for realistic levels of incentives must be secured. At negotiation this must be a "critical issue";

payment of incentives for all personnel involved in the project must be linked to performance be it in training or field performance; or both;

all SMSs and VEWs must be trained to a higher level in areas specifically related to the project;

the responsibility for agricultural regulatory functions must be transferred away from T&V VEWs;

a fully illustrated T&V extension manual should be developed for the LPIP project illustrating the system of operations; and

technical material should be developed (and/or simplified) and distributed as well as illustrated technical packages to farmers and village schools. Much more use must be made of communication through radio, television and the audio-visual media.

As a prerequisite to implementing productive women's activities, the following steps should be taken:

a well qualified and experienced woman should be appointed as the women's development advisor to each of the governorate's PCCs; whilst at the same time advising the Directors of Extension and the Heads of Women's extension programming;

the involvement of women should be developed and managed through the formation of a Women's Working Group at governorate level, combining the available resources of extension with those of all the Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) in the governorate working on women's activities at village level;

a detailed socio-economic survey of the rural women's situation should be undertaken. The results of this survey together with a "pooling" of locally available experience and the identification of reasons for the failure of women's activities would establish a more solid basis for project activities; and

the proposal, in the LPIP, to establish women's centres (ten in each district of the three governorates) should be placed in abeyance until the actions recommended have been undertaken and conclusions drawn.

Regular monthly workshops should be held at district level involving senior extension staff, district SMSs and all other agencies, including Bank for Development and Agricultural Credit (BDAC), involved in development to formulate detailed monthly work programs which would then be implemented in a cohesive manner.

The LPIP assumed that there was adequate livestock technology available and that it merely needs to be applied. The appraisal team should check this assumption thoroughly.

Credit

The main credit line (machinery) was ill-conceived, with the result that the 1 000 or so beneficiaries (out of 228 000 farmers in the governorate) received average loans of about Egyptian Pound (LE) 5 600 and represented the largest 3-4% of landowners. Thus, on the basis of MADP experience the following is recommended:

funds should be directed at specified smallholder activities geared to match the resources of the farmers and a ceiling should be placed on the size of loans to help in spreading potential benefits;

while there are proven activities accepted by BDAC, others need to be presented as commercially viable packages while some need further commercial testing. To strengthen BDAC's capacity to update activities and to strengthen new ones, funds should be made available to the recruitment of a practically-oriented person from the private sector specifically for this task; and

a mechanism allowing non-heizah cardholders to access BDAC funds for viable activities should be developed.

With specific regard to credit in the LPIP, the following recommendations were made:

the appraisal mission should firstly confirm that lack of credit is, in fact, constraining smallholder livestock activities. PBDAC has numerous credit lines through its own sources as well as foreign assistance monies available particularly for traditional types of credit such as poultry, goats and sheep. These livestock make up 60% of the proposed loan portfolio in the LPIP;

some of the assumptions made in formulating the lending proposals should be re-examined at appraisal. For instance, the numbers of goats and sheep to be purchased through the project amount to about one-third of the governorates' current numbers; as well, the project is to lend for about 17 times the total number of chickens present;

both financial soundness and logistical supports requirements for smallholder poultry enterprises need to be carefully examined at appraisal. In the light of experience are poultry, given the now high cost of feed, a viable enterprise for small farmers; and

the LPIP Formulation Report concluded that buffalo enterprises are not financially sound; the mission calculated, on the assumption that the animal is fed by farm produced fodder and crop residues (which it did not cost), that the enterprise could accumulate a substantial net benefit. As well, the fact remains that the buffalo is popular with rural dwellers; it is recommended that the appraisal should look more closely at the economic/social importance of the buffalo in the smallholder farming system.

Lessons learned

Given that a T&V system along classical lines (ie low VEW to farmer ratio) cannot be locally funded an alternative system, based on a much wider VEW to farmer ratio, serviced by a better trained, better paid and adequately equipped extension force is likely to be more cost effective. IFAD, in conjunction with other donors, should encourage the GOE to move along these lines. Any future IFAD interventions in extension should gear the size of its operations for the amount of recurrent operating costs that the borrower is able to fund.

Project design should ensure that project control (both the financial and implementation authority) is at governate level. To ensure financial cash flows, especially, projects need effective representation at national level. To facilitate relationships between a functional National Coordinating Committee and the project, a Project Services Office should be located with the MOALR's Foreign Agricultural Relations Offices; it should not have financial control. Its role, solely, would be to look after the projects' interests at national level.

The project would have benefited had its senior officials been better briefed about organizational management. Thus a short-term "project (turn-key) start up" contract, which translates the SAR into a working document and organizes workshops for senior field staff, should be a first step in project implementation.

In the context of the very poorly paid Egyptian public service, realistic levels of incentives must be assured. These incentives must, however, not be seen as "rights" but must be related to performance. Incentives should be a key issue at negotiation.

Producing detailed engineering designs, advertising tenders according to internationally accepted standards and procedures and the procurement of vehicles are major bones of contention. The necessary mechanisms and standards should be clearly defined at negotiation. Realistically, in the matter of vehicles, there should be some flexibility in the interest of a project, should inordinate delays occur in the tendering process, for purchasing vehicles locally.

While projects should endeavour to develop farmer/extension/research linkages as a mechanism for conducting on-farm trials, the mechanism of using contracts between the project and a research institute (without excluding the farmer/extension/research linkage) to conduct targeted research, should be used where appropriate.

In the area of credit it is evident that small farmers can service loans for proven activities. As well BDAC is quite capable of targeting a particular segment of the farming community if given the appropriate incentive. Given this positive situation IFAD should promote the identification and development of more financially profitable activities and, secondly, help BDAC develop mechanisms for increasing its clientele by including farmers, who are not landowners or official tenants, as potential borrowers.

 

LANGUAGES: English

West Beheira Settlement Project (1992)

Egypt  
diciembre 1992

Interim evaluation

Background

The project area consists of about 16 000 feddans and is located about 160 km North-West of Cairo. The topography is flat to gently undulating with soils that are mainly sandy loams (with some clays and medium sands) underlain at depths of 2-6m by medium textured sands of high permeability. Water holding capacity is low and the use of poor quality irrigation water in the past has led to a potential for alkalization. Winters (November to March) are cool, while summers are hot (May to September). Rainfall is negligible.

The main winter crops are wheat, berseem and broadbean with small areas of potato and tomato also grown. Maize dominates summer cropping while significant amounts of watermelon, tomato and squash are produced. At the time of appraisal, yields were quite poor due to problems with drainage, the poor quality of irrigation water and the low use of fertilizer.

Project design and objectives

Target group

The main beneficiaries of the project were to be the 1 620 farm families and 60 families of graduates who were to settle on the reclaimed land, each receiving a farm unit of five and fifteen feddans respectively. Smallholder settlers were to be selected from among applicants currently employed as agricultural labourers or cultivating (as either owners or tenants) small holdings up to a maximum of two feddans in size. In their current occupations, the incomes of these families were likely to fall within the range of Egyptian Pound (LE) 40 - 130 per capita. For comparison, the absolute poverty level of income in rural Egypt was estimated to be LE 60 - 70 per capita. Families were projected to rise to about LE 1 700 per family, or LE 250 - 300 per capita.

Other inhabitants of the project area (and its neighbourhood) would also be potential beneficiaries through improvements to infrastructure, social services and Government services.

Objectives and components

The project area, known as the Mechanised Farm, had originally been developed as a land reclamation venture between 1965 and 1968 through USSR assistance. It was being managed by the West Nubariya Agriculture Company (WNAC) and, in 1977, consisted of some 10 000 feddans. The enterprise, particularly its irrigation and drainage system, had fallen into disrepair and consequently the Mechanised Farm was running at a financial loss. The project was conceived as part of the Government of Egypt's (GOE's) policy to privatize non-profit making public sector activities.

The fundamental concept of the project was to rehabilitate the existing irrigation and drainage infrastructure, provide housing and install adequate infrastructure, such as roads, running water and sewage, to permit the settlement of former employees of the WNAC and other ‘fellaheen' from the surrounding area on the land as farmers. The State Farm was to be transferred to WBSP. Such an approach was consistent with wider economic and agricultural policies of the GOE, which sought to foster the private sector, to withdraw from loss-making public sector enterprises, and to increase food production.

In summary, the objectives of the project as formulated by the Staff Appraisal Report (SAR) were to increase agricultural production; improve income distribution and generate employment by settlement of smallholders; initiate a process of restructuring and strengthening agricultural institutions in the reclaimed lands; and to demonstrate a technical solution to problems of waterlogging and salinity in reclaimed land.

The rationale for attaining the project's objectives was based on the assumption that provided the problems of waterlogging and salinity were overcome through project financed drainage and water supply works, small farmers would utilize land much more effectively than a state owned venture.

The project was to consist of the following main complementary components:

  • construction of a new lined canal to convey irrigation water from the Nasr Canal to the project area;
  • rehabilitation of existing irrigation and drainage works and installation of a buried-pipe drainage system by which an area of 9 013 feddans (net) of reclaimed land would become capable of sustaining an intensive agriculture;
  • land levelling of all farm fields to obtain constant slopes for irrigation and drainage;
  • settlement of 1 620 smallholders and 60 graduate farmers in five villages (one new and the existing four expanded) with extension and rehabilitation of infrastructure (roads, domestic water supply, electrician and telecommunications) social services (schools, health and community development facilities) production and administration facilities (offices, workshops, veterinary clinic, milk collecting etc.) and housing for the smallholders and for the project staff;
  • provision of farm machinery, maintenance of equipment and vehicles; and
  • establishment of an agricultural extension service of the "training and visit" type.

Expected results and assumptions

Settler incomes were expected to rise from a range of LE 40 to LE 130 per capita to LE 250 to LE 300 per capita.

In terms of production the SAR predicted that final yields would approximate the national average despite the much poorer soils. This view was justified by the substantial crop research, training and extension inputs incorporated in the project. An increase in cropping intensity from 155% to 200% was anticipated.

Livestock production was to be dominated by cross-bred (Baladi X Friesian or Brown Swiss) dairy cattle production at full development, and it was assumed that about 80% of the producing cattle would be cross-bred. Production of milk and meat from buffalo or Baladi cattle was to supplement this production. Early and regular meat production was to be provided by rabbits. Rabbit keeping is common in new lands but improved breeds would be introduced to increase production. As with rabbits, new local poultry breeds were to be promoted. It was assumed the project would support about 2 100 cross-bred adult cattle plus their followers, 650 buffalo and 490 Baladi cattle and followers. Some 3 600 mature female rabbits and 40 000 hens were to be kept annually. More than 3 000 beehives were to be located in the project.

Evaluation

Bearing in mind the project's initial difficulties and the resultant reduction in scope, the mission's purpose, in summary, was to draw lessons emerging from the implementation of the WBSP, to assess the impact that the project's components have had on the quality of life of the projects beneficiaries and to brief an appraisal mission1 of the New Lands Agricultural Service Project (NLASP) in order that its findings of the interim evaluation could be taken into account during the appraisal stage of that project.

The Interim Evaluation Mission (IEM) visited the WBSP area for six days in October 1990. Upon returning to Cairo, the mission de-briefed the Appraisal Mission for the NLASP for two days.

Because of the relatively short time available both for field visits and report preparation, the mission was unable to obtain some of the relevant quantitative information. Some of this information was either unavailable, inadequately collated or needed approval from Cairo before it could be released. Accordingly, the findings of the draft Interim Evaluation Report released for comment within IFAD in January, 1991 were necessarily tentative.

This follow-up report has made use of information2 that has become available since the IEM (October 1990) and has taken note of comments on the draft report from within IFAD. The annexes, as presented in the draft Interim Evaluation Report, have not been significantly amended to include information obtained since the IEM's visit. Such information has, however, been incorporated into the Main Report. The report points out that missions which are somewhat hastily convened with restricted time for field work and background study in order to meet the deadlines of other missions (i.e., the IEM with reference to the NLASP appraisal) have, through their very nature, limitations imposed on them.

Project implementation context

Although the project became effective in August 1981 project implementation suffered delays of nearly five years due to bureaucratic wrangling over civil work design, awarding of contracts and supervision. By then, the cooperating institution judged that there would be cost overruns and recommended (and IFAD agreed) a reduction in project scope. Once civil work contracts under the reduced project scope were let in 1986, implementation appeared (according to Supervision Missions) to have progressed well.

Project Achievements

Despite very substantial delays to project implementation and design, the project has significant achievements to its credit. Settlement has been completed basically along the lines advocated in the SAR and farmers' incomes are substantial in comparison to their pre project earnings; the irrigation and drainage works were well designed; the layout of the canals is good and the construction work has generally been of satisfactory quality; the construction of the infrastructure has been well carried out; and environmental impact has been positive.

Drainage and Irrigation. A new Link Canal was successfully completed by the Ministry of Irrigation by 1985, while a total of 9 050 feddans had been reclaimed and rendered productive by May 1991. As well, an additional 1 000 feddans were developed to allow on existing areas to be retained by WNAC for fodder production. The new systems were working satisfactorily at the time of the mission and the water, supplied through the link canal, was of good quality.

Settlement. While the settlement schedule as desired at appraisal could not be adhered to partly because of construction delays and partly because of management's disinclination, at times, to facilitate settlement, some 1 710 farmer employees (1 620 smallholders and 90 graduates) had been allocated farms by 1992. The draft Completion Report (DCR) noted that "at the closing of the project, the settlers were doing well and were producing a variety of crops and livestock, thus it became a model area for agricultural production...".

Infrastructure. By 1992, the project had constructed 495 houses and, at least, 180 private employees under the project had been given "soft loans" to build their own houses. The general infrastructure contract (roads, potable water supply, sewerage and electricity) was completed within a revised contract period and within the budget; no particular difficulties had been experienced and the work was of adequate standard.

Production. The DCR noted that cropping intensity had risen to 200% and that yields were much higher than those estimated at appraisal. The SAR, for instance, predicted maize yields of 1.3 t/feddan whereas yields in 1991 were averaging 3.5 t/feddan.

Monitoring and Evaluation . There is no evidence that M&E was used to any degree as a management tool.

Project effects - immediate and lasting

Effects on Target Group. By 1992, 1 710 farmer WNAC employees had been allocated farmers. According to the DCR surveys net incomes of smallholders have risen to over LE 8 000 per annum which, even allowing for inflation, is above the SAR estimate of LE 1 500. Thus a substantial group of former government employees appear to have been blessed with an alternative (and relatively lucrative) livelihood.

Effects on Production. The DCR noted that the decision to use tile drainage instead of open field drains increased the irrigable area by 10% up to a total of 9 050 feddan. As well, rehabilitation of the overall irrigation network had raised cropping intensity to 200%. Actual yields of traditional field crops were higher than those estimated at appraisal. The DCR noted that production patterns in the area had shifted several times in response to changing commodity prices and new opportunities with 25% of the summer crop area planted to high value seed crops. More fodder crops and less barley had been grown. Independent extrapolations by the IEM concluded that the production increases projected at appraisal had been very substantially exceeded. The incremental meat and milk production is less than anticipated at appraisal probably as a result of delayed settlement. The DCR thought that the SAR production targets would, however, be eventually exceeded.

Effect on Environment. The environmental impact of the project has been clearly positive. The quality of both irrigation and drainage water has improved; thus the possibilities of soil salinity or soil sodicity have been largely eliminated. As well, the improved drainage installed has reduced the danger of high watertables causing waterlogging. The lining of canals appears to have been instrumental in reducing the incidence of bilharziosis, while reduced ponding and waterlogging as a consequence of improved water supply and drainage, is expected to decrease the incidence of mosquitoes and hence malaria.

Effect on Institution Strengthening. There was no evidence of any significant strengthening of institutions which was an objective of the project.

Recommendations

Undoubtedly, the project, despite major delays in construction, has been successful in achieving its main objectives which were to divest the GOE from a non profitable public sector farm by successfully re settling some of the farm's former employees on individual landholdings. To achieve this, the project rehabilitated some 9 050 feddans of land through the construction of an improved irrigation and drainage system. Although some aspects of project implementation were less than satisfactory, the technology used in the imposition of the necessary supply and drainage works indicates that methods of overcoming waterlogging and salinity are available. The project thus fulfilled its role, be it at a substantial cost, as a pilot scheme for future replication. As designed the per capita cost of the project would have been about USD 3 290.

Taking into account the high per capita cost and IFAD's mandate to concentrate its efforts on the poorest sectors of the rural communities, IFAD should continue to pursue its policy of shifting away from lending on capital-intensive large-scale projects which have high per capita investment costs and are, inevitably, subject to major implementation delays.

The project's basic rationale which assumed that, provided the problems of waterlogging and salinity were overcome through project financed drainage and water supply works, small farmers would utilize land much more effectively than a state owned venture, proved correct. In retrospect, given Egypt's history of long delays in tendering of contracts requiring international tendering procedures, the appraisal appears to also have been optimistic with regard to the timetable it set for actual works construction and settlement.

Managerial and institutional factors of inertia should be taken into account at the design stage. If major managerial changes (although desirable) may be impossible or very difficult to implement, planners should recognize this and not include such proposed changes in design.

The following recommendations, which are really basic principles for project design, arose from the WBSP's experiences:

  • administrative complexity should be avoided whenever possible. Where a state company is involved, its role should be clarified at the outset of project design and a well defined and strong project administrative unit should be insisted upon. Project objectives should be simplified whenever possible to avoid coordination problems;
  • monitoring and evaluation activities should be insisted upon starting at project inception. Baseline surveys should be conducted at the beginning of projects and time series data or key parameters should be kept throughout the life of the project;
  • training should be continuous, rather than a "once for all" experience. It must be focussed on the beneficiaries' perceived needs; and
  • with regard to smallholder irrigation, the formation of Water Users' Associations should be a pre requisite to project design together with assurances that realistic operation and management charges be imposed as soon as water is supplied to assure sustainability

Lessons learned

Agricultural service projects which are heavily dependent on the prior completion of extensive (and expensive) infrastructural construction activities should be avoided, particularly in countries which have a civil service culture similar to Egypt.

Coordination among different ministries both at National and Governorate level is fraught with difficulties. The more complex the project design, the greater is the need for coordination, and the greater the resulting problems. Projects should be kept as simple as possible.

From the outset of the project, monitoring and evaluation must receive more attention from management. With no or little feedback, management is put at a severe disadvantage. Baseline surveys and the collection of data on basic parameters (particularly) throughout the life of the project is essential if project impact is to be evaluated in a meaningful manner.

As average GOE wages are low, incentives are a reality of public service life if performance in line with project expectations is to be achieved. An assurance that project implementers are provided with incentives should be a key element in the design of a public sector project in Egypt.

IFAD faced a dilemma during the course of the project in that the GOE changed its mind after project start up as to the manner in which it was to privatize WNAC. Perhaps IFAD should develop a basic policy as to how to deal with such a situation.

Training activities are well received by settlers, particularly when the activities meet their specific needs. Such activities should be based on settlers' actual expressed desires, be timed to minimize interference with farm activities and be a "process", rather than a "once for all" training session.

If a project seeks to implement change, it must recognize that old habits are firmly ingrained. If change is desired, adequate support for managerial interventions and continuous practical training must be provided.

A final lesson, directed at IFAD's management, is that sufficient time should be allowed for evaluation missions to complete their work satisfactorily and that such undertakings should not be mounted in haste to meet the schedule of other IFAD missions to which its findings may be relevant.


1/ The Appraisal Mission was to reach Egypt while the Interim Evaluation Mission was being undertaken.

2/ Including a preliminary Draft Completion Report (World Bank, dated 13 July 1992).

LANGUAGES: English

Kasungu Agricultural Development Project

Malawi  
diciembre 1992

The project was to be situated within the Kasungu Agricultural Development Division (KADD). It would be part of the National Rural Development Programme (NRDP) and comprise the Kasungu, Mchinji and Dowa East Rural Development Projects. KADD covers 14% (13000km2) of the country and contains 11% (700000) of Malawi's total rural population. The average household is about five. Most of the project area falls under customary or communal land tenure where only cultivation rights, rather than legal ownership, is granted by the village headman. Within most of the project area matrilineal inheritantship of cultivation rights prevail.

Kasungu RDP has a total area of about 550400ha, which includes a large state sector and the Kasungu Flue-Cured Tobacco Authority (KFCTA). Of the 416000ha of potentially cultivable land, 273000 ha supported (in 1984/85) a smallholder farming sub-sector of 63600farm families distributed over six EPAs. Farm holdings are slightly higher than the national average. Soils are reasonably fertile and there is much potential for further agricultural development through increasing the yield level of existing crops (maize, groundnuts, tobacco, beans) and for broadening the range of crops grown (oil seeds). Maize production occupies 70% of the cultivated area followed by groundnuts (12%) and tobacco (3%). Livestock is important although remaining comparatively underdeveloped. Mchinji RDP has a total area of about 334600ha, of which about 151000ha was available to a smallholder population of 49700 farm families. Farms are small and at least 70% of the holdings are less than 2ha. Maize occupies 69% of the land while groundnuts occupy 16% and tobacco 3%. Livestock is more numerous than in Kasungu but remained relatively underdeveloped. Dowa East is the smallest of the three RDPs with 136600ha, of which 79900ha was farmed in 1984/85 by 25200 smallholder families. Farms are small and at least 70% of the holdings are less than 2ha. Maize cultivation takes up about 80% of the farm land, groundnuts 5% and tobacco 4%, the remainder being taken up by root crops, pulses, wheat and cotton. There is also a significant, mainly small stock, livestock population.

Project objectives and design

Target group

The primary target group consists of smallholder members of farm clubs. Government policy decrees that all seasonal crop production credit (which is the central component of the project) be channeled through these clubs and similar farm groups. At appraisal it was estimated that there were about 600farm clubs in the three RDPs with around 19200 members. The secondary target group consists of smallholders, whether club members or not, to whom the benefits of improved extension services, veterinary facilities, roads, water supply and farmer training can be extended through the respective project components. The average household income at appraisal was estimated at about MK180 (USD135), some 60% of which is derived from food and cash crop production, 7% from livestock and the rest from other sources. Less than 30% of the population has improved water supply from covered wells or boreholes. The rest relies on open wells or streams.

Objectives and components

The project objectives were to focus on rural development in Kasungu, Mchinji and Dowa East RDPs with particular reference to: (a)increase the self-reliance of the rural poor in food production; (b)promote production-oriented investments and essential infrastructure; (c)strengthen the institutional development of the Kasungu ADD; and (d)minimize the burden of recurrent costs.

Components. The project was to be carried out over a five-year period and comprises the following components: (a)extension; (b)credit, a substantial seasonal credit fund would be earmarked for the purchase of seasonal inputs (fertilizers, seeds, insecticides). Medium-term credit was to be provided for the purchase of farm carts, work oxen, ploughs and other farm implements; (c)a pilot nutrition programme to assess the extent of malnutrition and organize farmer-training courses; (d)training; (e)land husbandry to reduce erosion particularly on hillsides and over-grazed areas of Dowa East and Kasungu RDPs; (f)livestock production, livestock enterprises were to be supported as part of mixed farming systems on smallholdings. Credit and specialist technical support was to be given for improving pastures and use of crops by-products; (g)marketing support to deal with input and output supply, the locations of market sheds were to be selected on basis of crop volumes produced and distances from farming villages; (h)roads; (i)water supply; and (j)management support.

The project was managed solely by national staff. Although the management performance has been satisfactory; nevertheless it has been negatively affected by a weak management of information throughout the life of the project.

Expected effects and assumptions

The main objectives of the project are to improve the productive capacity and the socio-economic welfare of the smallholder farmers in the area. More intensive crop extension efforts, improved veterinary services, along with credit facilities and better social services, are expected to expand the productive capacity and generate economic benefits. The benefits from increased crop and livestock production are quantifiable.

The basic assumptions of the project design were: (a)that area-specific extension messages would be made available to the producers; (b)the markets would be developed early in the life of the project through farm-to-market roads construction and improvement to ensure timely and cost-effective distribution of inputs and efficient transportation of produce; and (c)the Government would introduce a pricing approach that would take into consideration farmers' produce margins.

Evaluation

The Interim Evaluation Mission which consisted of six experts in the fields of economics, sociology, agronomy, farming systems, nutrition and monitoring and evaluation visited Malawi during August/September 1991. The mission spent about 20days in the field as well as around one week visiting with government officials. The mission had access to various project reports and benefited from a number of field surveys and studies undertaken by the M&E. The mission also met and discussed with government and project authorities as well as with donors.

Implementation context

Malawi is a landlocked country, a fact which has important implications for the supply of farm inputs and the marketing of the export crops. To increase the effectiveness of extension services, the GOM restructured its extension services on a geographic unit approach, based on ecological principles consistent with administrative boundaries. The 180 Extension Planning Areas (EPAs) will be grouped into 40 Development Areas. The project would provide assistance to agricultural extension through the EPAs under the KADD administration.

The project would be implemented within the context of the National Rural Development Programme (NRDP), designed to provide a more extensive level of services to a larger population. NRDP would increase smallholder production through the provision of input and farm services. NRDP is financed by a host of bilateral and multilateral donors.

Project achievements

Research. During the course of the project an adaptive research team has been established. This was intended to complement the work of the commodity teams at the main research stations. Details of a few of the experiments which had been carried out were available. The quality of presentation and analysis of the data is variable, but unfortunately none of the work of the past seven years has provided extension staff with any new technical information which would assist farmers in overcoming their constraints. This activity is part of the national research programme and modifications which might make it more effective will have to come from the national level.

Extension. The extension service was expected to continue to work with the modified Training and Visit (T&V) system which forms the basis of the national programme. Most attenders of meetings are members of credit clubs so that the system is not fulfilling its objective of reaching out to the poorer members of the community. Part of the reason for this is that a good deal of the instructions relates to crops (hybrid maize, tobacco) which are not grown by the poorer families, and to practices (the use of fertilizer and manure) which are beyond their resources. There are considerable weaknesses in the content of the messages being passed on to farmers. It is only in the case of hybrid maize that the farm household/baseline survey data indicates that yields of fertilizer users are 37% higher compared to non-users, i.e., 1600 versus 1170 kg/ha.

The land husbandry component was expected to strengthen KADD's capacity to assist farmers with the control of soil erosion. The land husbandry technical assistants were to be supported by 20field assistants trained in the use of hand levels. They were to help with the re-alignment of ridges along the contour.

The land husbandry section of KADD claims that between 1985 and 1991, 398.6km were pegged and 70.7km of marker ridges were constructed. Assuming 0.5km of marker ridge per ha this means that approximately 800ha were pegged and ridges were actually re-aligned on some 140ha. Two facts stand out from these figures. The first is that the area covered in five years is such a small fraction of the cultivated land in need of contour ridging that a continuation of this strategy would require several generations to cover the whole project area. The second is that on a high proportion of the fields that are pegged out by the staff the farmers do not re-align their ridges so the staff's efforts are wasted.

Among the reasons for the low level of actual ridge re-alignment following on the pegging of marker ridges is a policy of focussing attention on catchments which are particularly prone to erosion. A whole area is pegged irrespective of whether farmers have requested such action on their fields. Apart from the marker ridge strategy the land husbandry division has tried small experiments with Leucaena bushes on farmers fields. These were intended both to raise soil fertility and provide a live barrier to protect the soil. The plants have not grown well (a combination of acid soil conditions and termite attack) and the strategy has been abandoned.

Credit. Recovery rates on both seasonal and medium term loans have fallen during the life of the project. On the basis of a recent KADD Credit Default Study, undertaken as a result of IFAD's 1989-MTE of the project, and from discussions in the field, it appears that a number of factors have contributed to the increase in arrears experienced since 1987/88. These include: (a) poor club appraisal, management, supervision and training, (b) willful defaulting, (c) embezzlement of funds by club officials, (d) misuse of inputs by Field Assistants and Credit and Marketing Officers and (e) illegal tobacco growing and/or the diversion of inputs into estates. As a result of these findings a number of measures have been taken to improve credit recovery. These include tightening up loan administrative procedures, training club members and project officers and devising a systematic means to reschedule loans to recover past arrears.

Input Supply and Marketing. All of the marketing facilities have been constructed and are in use. The centres are staffed and the Agricultural Development and Marketing Cooperation (ADMARC) is financing the operation and maintenance costs. Fertilizer and seeds are supplied by

ADMARC on the basis of demand forecasts made by KADD and ADMARC for credit and cash sales. There has been a shift away from cash to credit sales. Farmers have often complained that fertilizers and other inputs have been inadequate in terms of total amounts, sizes of packages and timeliness of delivery, especially in areas where sheds have been closed to reduce costs.

Effects, assessment and sustainability

Beneficiaries and Income Effects. In the absence of a baseline study of beneficiaries targeted by the community development component, one can speak of impact only in general terms. Unless hybrid maize yields can be increased significantly, for example through a better application of fertilizer, it seems preferable for the smallholder to grow local maize as returns are higher compared to all but one of the hybrid maize alternatives. The exception is the high yield alternative (optimistic scenario) with a gross margin of MK447 per ha and a return to labour of MK2.85per day. The gross margin for the local maize alternative (given a yield of 900kg/ha based on KADD observations over a number of years) are MK211 per ha and MK1.23 per labour. In contrast with the above figures are the results for burley tobacco: a gross margin of MK2149 and returns to labour of MK13.78. These findings assume a price of MK4 per kg which the Government agreed to be paid by ADMARC to smallholders in the 1990/91 season. If farmers could sell directly to the auction floor at MK7 per kg, labour returns would peak at MK21.63 per day. From the above it is obvious that burley tobacco is by far the most profitable alternative.

Effects on Nutrition and Food Security. In general, 79% of all households run out of local maize by December. The households that run out of maize the earliest tend to be non-credit club members, non-hybrid maize growers, female-headed, non-fertilizer users, and households with less than one hectare. To compensate for maize shortages, households in the project area pursue a number of strategies to meet their consumption needs. These include crop diversification, Ganyu labour (i.e., casual labour), estate work, handicraft and livestock sale. The nutritional impact of the project is difficult to measure. Since the IFAD project was originally designed to target farmers in credit clubs, many of the food insecure households have remained outside the reach of project activities.

Over 70% of the male children and 55% of the female children in the project area are nutritionally stunted. To compensate for this, the KADD staff have put together a plan for reaching the poorer households in the Division. Building upon the information generated by various surveys, a strategy has been developed to identify the food-insecure households. Households are to be selected by local committees consisting of village headmen, field assistants, and family heads using a checklist of characteristics. The households selected will be organized into groups for targeted interventions. The evaluation team feels that this is a good start.

Specific Effects on Women. In general the women programme is fairly uniform across all RDPs. It consists of forming women's groups, attempting to target them with credit, activities related to crop improvement and home economics, introducing Income Generating Activities (IGAs), and training programmes. The number of women's credit groups has fluctuated during the life of the project, but with the exception of Mchinji it has not increased. There is no obvious factor, excepting the increase in arrears in general among all clubs. Conventional wisdom insists that women clubs are better at repaying their credit than men. However, the Smallholder Agricultural and Credit Administration (SACA) notes that there is no evidence to support this assertion and project data have not been desegregated to test the hypothesis.

Environmental Effects. The project did not provide any alternative to continuous cultivation. It did increase the supply of fertilizer to the area. Under existing circumstances this led to the growth of stronger plants which contributed to an increase in organic matter in the soil (particularly through the increased root growth). It would not have counteracted the decline in soil pH and only marginally reduced soil loss. The land husbandry initiatives would have reduced soil loss but only on a tiny fraction of the area. The increase in tobacco production stimulated under the project would have increased the demand for fuelwood. The project had no major component for counteracting this trend.

Effects on Local/National Development Trends. The rehabilitation of roads and the improvement in marketing infrastructures have had a positive impact on the economy of three RDPs. Attempts at diversification of crop production should improve the local economy and assist the national policy aiming at the development of the rural areas.

Credit. By 1991, credit targeted only 25% of all farm households in the project area. Credit still reaches only a small percentage of farmers in each RDP. Farmers visited generally indicated that their income had increased as a result of having received credit under the project. There are doubts, however, that the credit component reaches the poorer farmers. The administrative costs of the small loans served are likely to be high.

In the absence of a baseline study of beneficiaries targeted by the community development component, one can speak of impact only in general terms. Given the National Credit Committee's refusal to raise interest rates, the long-term costs of such lending, its effect on the viability of the revolving fund, and the likelihood of its ability to improve the well-being of smallholder farmers must be carefully considered. Finally, considering the rather poor performance record of farmers clubs in recovering credit, one must naturally ask if one extends credit to more marginal farmers than those previously targeted by the project, would clubs be even less well disciplined, inducing even higher arrears than in the past. This raises the more general issue of whether targeting smallholders through clubs with credit is the most effective and efficient way to reach Malawi's poorest smallholders.

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). The quality and usefulness of the M&E system has been mixed. On the one hand the M&E unit produced useful studies and survey results, in particular the Credit Default Study, the Household Food Security Surveys and recently the Farm Household/Baseline Survey. On the other hand, however, the data management and reporting system has been experiencing several problems. Data from the RDPs suffer from a lack of comparability, standard formats are lacking and reports/data are difficult to retrieve. Progress reports are often submitted too late to be meaningful. They provide a lot of details but essential data are missing. A system of beneficiary contact monitoring (including for example a tracer study of credit recipients) has never been established. Part of these problems can be explained from the high staff turnover during the first years of the project and from the limited M&E staff available. However, more staff will not solve the problems unless the skills of the staff are upgraded through training and technical assistance (with on-the-job training).

Sustainability. The project as designed was complex with about thirteen components. Hence its implementation was the responsibility of many agencies. Though its integration within the structure of the existing institutions would supposedly ensure its future sustainability, a critical factor in this respect would be the GOM price and marketing policies both at the economy level and cropwise. Unless the flow of inputs, particularly fertilizer and seeds and the input/product price ratio remained favourable to smallholders, they would more likely revert to subsistence production. In this respect the development of markets, through investment in infrastructure and equal opportunities to all producers, are requisites for sustainability of project benefits.

Sustainability of credit operations would depend on the farm clubs. The evaluation revealed an inefficient performance in terms of deliveries to the intended beneficiaries, the low recovery rates, the non-responsible conduct of the office bearers and the consequent lack of sense of ownership among the members. In such situations, the sustainability of credit, input supply and other project services would be in jeopardy.

Main issues and recommendations

Macro-economic policies effects on farm sector, in particular, permission for smallholders to grow export crops such as tobacco, the marketing arrangements and the pricing system have a profound effect on the small sector development and commercialization. In any future projects, the impact of these macro-economic policies on project performance should be carefully analyzed during the design stage. Alternative scenarios should be drawn and examined and discussed with the concerned government.

To create a rural financial system to reach the target group, a number of measures should be pursued:

(a) the system should respond to beneficiaries demands which means that some need assessments/diagnostic surveys are essential;

(b) a target group oriented delivery mechanism should be established. Since the farm clubs are not effective in reaching the most vulnerable segment of the rural poor, credit groups in which these poor participate should be formed; and

(c) loans repayments are low and farm clubs, particularly office bearers, have high delinquency rates. To improve repayments, there is an urgency to train and develop groups (training, savings mobilization, collective action) to a high level of commitment for peers pressure to become effective in repayments.

For effective extension, the requisites are:

(a) a clear extension message which is responsive to individual farmer needs and constraints;

(b) improving contacts with low resource farming households, since contacts are maintained with about 40% of better-off households;

(c) need for training of extension staff and providing them with appropriate technical messages; and

(d) availability of attractive input/product price ratio through allowing smallholders to grow burley tobacco on customary lands, improved delivery mechanism, marketing and pricing.

For household food security, rural households apply a number of survival strategies and policies and projects should be designed to augment the returns from their alternative activities.

Lessons learned

The effects which macro-economic policies are likely to have on project sub-components should be thoroughly investigated. The Malawi's land tenure, marketing and price policies as well as its general support to the estate sector have adversely affected smallholder crop production.

The need for a more dynamic, competitive and promotion-oriented marketing system and a farmer-centered approach to development.

A sustainable rural financial system which starts with savings mobilization, is demand led, and seeks to promote and develop a viable rural banking system. The recent Credit Default Study indicates that once credit became supply led farmers clubs expanded too rapidly and lost their cohesion. The lesson learned is that group credit through clubs may have its limits and alternative avenues and institutions through which to target farmers with credit should be investigated in the future. Major project components, such as credit, should not be implemented without a tracer study of those targeted.

The active participation of the beneficiaries in the design and implementation of the project is essential. There is much more scope for encouraging active participation of beneficiaries in all project activities.

 

LANGUAGES: English

Fayoum Agricultural Devleopment Project (1992)

Egypt  
septiembre 1992

Interim evaluation report

Background

The Fayoum governorate is located in a depression of about 179 500 ha south of Cairo and 25 km west of the Nile River. It is a clearly defined basin, with sloping and rolling topography, with heavy and medium-textured soils derived from Nile alluvium. The soils are inherently excellent for agriculture although there is some soil salinity and sodicity in limited areas. Winters (November to March) are cool, while summers are hot (May to September). Rainfall is negligible. The population in 1978 was 1.22 million.

The majority of land is cultivated by small farmers operating as owners, tenants, and sharecroppers, or as a mixture of all three. The SAR indicated an average farm size of about 2.9 feddan, with 86% of farmers owning less than 5 feddans. The average cropping intensity over the 302 500 feddans (127 200 ha) was 196% but this varied markedly between areas. As in other parts of the Nile Valley, the cropping pattern is based on a well-established three year rotation system which had, until recently, been determined by government policy1 . The main crops were wheat, berseem (winter) and cotton, maize and sorghum (summer). Broadbeans, tomatoes, melons and rice are significant as well. In 1981 there were an estimated 120 500 cattle, 77 000 buffalo, 95 500 sheep, 63 300 goats and 80 000 donkeys in the governorate and commercial poultry production was rising rapidly. The LPIP2 formulation report noted that 85% of the cattle and buffalo were on holdings of less than five feddan with one or two animals owned by each farmer.

Project design and objectives

Target group

Smallholders/tenant farming families cultivating holdings of less than five feddans, with an average per capita income, from farming, of USD 120 or less, were the target group. This group was thought to account for 86% of farmers and 42% of the land farmed in the governorate. Although the project was designed to allow extension services to reach all farmers, only about a quarter (31 000 farming families) were expected to benefit from contact with project activities. As well, institutions and their employees were expected to benefit from training, better operating capacity and incentive payments additional to their salaries.

Objectives and components

The SAR stated that the project "supports the major objectives of the Government's agricultural policy which is to attain as much self sufficiency in food as possible and to generate foreign exchange". Furthermore, the project was to provide the agricultural sector with the means to increase farm incomes and the standards of living of the people. Crop production increases were to be achieved primarily through improved farm practices rather than increased inputs. The contention was that currently available technology for crop production was adequate but that many farmers needed access to it. To provide access, the project was to re organize the extension (and to a lesser degree, research) service using the Training and Visit (T&V) System of Extension. To ensure that the recommended crop packages could be implemented, the projects were to strengthen some aspects of crop inputs supply and credit facilities. By taking these actions, the project would assist the Government of Egypt (GOE) in implementing its policy of merging research and extension at the governorate, district and field levels.

The project was to achieve its objectives through investment in institutional strengthening; provision for a better supply of a range of agricultural inputs; and through credit. Project activities were to be phased over a six-year period to ensure that sufficient time was allowed for the installation of the T&V system and the procurement and physical construction of all the necessary infrastructure. The following components and sub-components were to be included:

  • Extension and Research
  • Irrigation and Water Management
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Farm Mechanization
  • Agricultural Credit and Marketing
  • Project Coordination Unit (PCU)
  • Technical Assistance and Training
  • Monitoring and Evaluation

Expected results and assumptions

In terms of output, the project was expected to increase the production of most crops grown in the governorate for which a proven technological package was already known. By project maturity (Year 9), average production increases over the without project position would vary from 13% for onions to 78% for Nili maize. As well for 15% of livestock in the governorate, milk production was expected to increase by 12% from buffaloes and 6% from cows, while increases in meat production were expected to range from 33% for buffalo calves and baladi bulls to 8% for buffalo heifers and 22% for baladi heifers.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation's (MOALR) capacity to provide extension services to farmers was to be drastically upgraded through intensive staff training, better office facilities, transport and operating means and the use of T&V extension methodology. The suitability of the T&V system for other parts of Egypt was to be assessed.

The appraisal expected net incomes of farmers with 1.2 and 3.0 feddans to increase from Egyptian Pound (LE) 522 to LE 758 and LE 381 to LE 2084 respectively.

Evaluation

In accordance with the terms of reference, the mission focused on agricultural development essentially as affected by the project's innovative extension system, the appropriateness of crop recommendations developed by research, the extension/research link and the projects' credit component. Agricultural development was taken as crop development; though not part of the focus of the evaluation, some consideration was given to livestock and project management as well. Major policy changes have taken place in Egypt, particularly in agricultural policies, since the inception of the project eight years ago; thus what may have been appropriate at appraisal may not be so now. For instance, agricultural inputs were largely government-provided and the large-scale commercial production of livestock was in government hands, two situations which the government is reversing. The mission has tried to keep this in mind during its deliberations. The assessment of FADP was conducted together with a similar evaluation of the Minya Agricultural Development Project (MADP) so that the experiences from the projects could be taken into account for a forthcoming LPIP appraisal.

To assess the overall status of the project, the mission reviewed IDA's six monthly supervision reports and progress reports prepared by the FADP itself, together with activity-specific reports prepared by consultants contracted by the project. The mission spent eight days in the project area during which it visited the five districts, held discussions with the credit bank, senior staff at governorate district level and visited contact and non-contact farmers.

Project implementation context

In the context of the general economy the project was conceived at the end of a period of economic boom but implemented during a period of relative austerity. This situation almost certainly contributed to problems with local funding.

By the end of March 1992 (over six years after project effectiveness and 15 months after the original closing date), only 51.7% of the IFAD loan had been distributed. Inordinate delays in decision-making by the National Coordinating Committee (NCC) coupled with delays in effective delegating financial authority to governorate level severely hinder implementation. Problems with inadequate local financing (which the mission suspects could have been lessened by appropriate action at central government level) and delays with decisions relating to procurement and contractual matters were major problems.

Project achievements

As with its sister project, the MADP, the project helped increase farm output and strengthened, through the introduction of the T&V extension system, the MOALR's advisory service. However, the base for the strengthened extension service, as it stands, is fragile and dependent on regular injections of incremental funding.

Infrastructure. Although delayed, the extension centres have been successfully completed; they provide suitable bases for district staff to operate from, as well as locations for routine Village Extension Worker (VEW) training.

Staffing. The projects successfully recruited VEWs3 from within existing complements of field staff. In July 1992 there were some 600 VEWs working with the FADP project. As well, the necessary numbers of Village Extension Supervisors (VESs to supervise VEWs) and Subject Matter Specialists (SMSs to train the VESs and VEWs) were successfully recruited. Training of SMSs by researchers has substantially improved the ability of the latter to teach VEWs existing and new agricultural technologies. Intensive training has increased the confidence and ability of the VEWs, and this, combined with incentive payments, better working conditions and a set programme, has motivated and enabled the extension service to communicate better with farmers.

Contact with Farmers. The numbers of contact farmers increased from 1 929 in 1985/86 to nearly 12 000 by June 1990, while the numbers of farmers under the auspices of the project were 24 110 and nearly 120 000 for the corresponding times. No conclusive dates are available on the quality of the VEW/farmer interactions.

Credit. To May 1992, the project had processed over 19 000 loans, for agricultural purposes, amounting to over USD 11 million. Some 17 500 loans (95.6% and 97.8% in number and value respectively) were for buffalo or cattle. While an estimated 51% of these livestock loans were fraudulent, in that they were used for purposes (generally agricultural) other than specified, they were all given to farmers with less than five feddans of land who, therefore, were members of the target group. Repayment has been satisfactory and the loans, reportedly, did represent an injection of capital into productive ventures.

Monitoring and Evaluation. The SAR's expectations that the MOALR's MEU in Cairo should be responsible for M&E did not come to fruition. Several studies concerning the project's extension and credit components were commissioned by FADP. While these provided some useful information, M&E was not used as a managerial tool during project life.

Project effects - immediate and lasting

Effect on Production. Total crop production showed substantial increases from pre-project levels. Of the three main crops, the average period for the three years 1989 to 1991, wheat and maize output increased by 124% and 18% over the 1984/85 levels respectively, while cotton remained unchanged. Statistics for livestock production are not on hand, but, even allowing for the fraudence of some livestock loans, an estimated 16 800 buffalo and cattle would have been purchased through the project's credit facility. While some of the livestock purchases would merely represent transfers of ownership within the governorates' existing inventory of livestock, substantial number were, reportedly, bought into the governorate. Thus a substantial increase in milk production would have occurred.

While much of the upsurge in production must be attributed to non-project factors, the improved extension service, even if only through the extensive promotion of demonstrations using cooperating farmers, would have made a substantial contribution. Demonstrations covered 17.3% and 14.5% of total winter sowing (1990/91) and summer area (1990) respectively and involved 18 954 and 11 645 farmers in the respective seasons. As the demonstrations out yielded non-demonstration sowing substantially, incremental project promoted output from this activity alone was considerable.

Effect on Farmers' Income. The mission estimated that the income (excluding livestock) of a progressive farm farmer with 1.2 feddan was about LE 2 000, while the average farmer would earn at least LE 1 700. Taking into account the progression of the consumer price over the period, the figure of LE 1 200 appears to be approximately equal to the SAR average target of LE 600 (1984 prices) for farmers owning 1.2 feddan. The fact that production has increased at a substantially higher rate than population implies that a positive effect on food availability has occurred; this, coupled with a substantial increase in farm incomes, would suggest that the living standard of the target group has increased.

Effect on Institutions. The MOALR benefitted both in terms of infrastructure and staff development. The six Extension Centres built by the project provided a much needed based from which extension staff could operate and interact with their field staff.

A particular achievement of the project has been the intensive training provided to SMSs and subsequently by SMSs to VEWs. On many occasions, VEWs during meetings with members of the mission reflected that prior to the project they were poorly equipped in terms of knowledge but now they were adequately trained. A number of more senior staff have benefitted from longer term training both within institutions in Egypt and overseas.

Sustainability. One of the objectives of the projects was to develop a sustainable T&V system which could be replicated in other governorates. While there is no doubt that the T&V system is a substantial improvement on the pre project situations, it has been dependent on incentives and to a lesser degree, expensive inputs of transport. The mission accepts that with the very low wages, incentives are essential (and, indeed, can be usefully manipulated to improve performance) but doubts whether the GOE is prepared to fund and maintain them at a sufficiently high levels to sustain the T&V system in its present form.

The MOALR within the governorates is grossly overstaffed (there are numerous employees outside the T&V system). A much smaller cadre of T&V workers who are better trained, better paid and adequately equipped is likely to be more cost effective in transferring technology. However, it is unlikely that the authorities would accept substantial sudden staff reductions to allow the establishment of such a T&V force. This is a critical issue as to whether an effective extension system can be developed and sustained. Without project funding the T&V system in its current form is not sustainable.

Recommendations

The rationale between the LPIP and the FADP is, in essence, the same. The following recommendations apply to the LPIP and similar rural development projects.

Organization and management

The operation of the project was hampered by MOALR's hesitancy in delegating the authority for implementation to the governorate. The two major lessons learnt are, firstly, that the authority and full responsibility for decision making and financial expenditure should be with the governorate, and secondly, that projects should have effective representation at national level. An effective National Coordinating Committee (NCC) could have dealt with the issue of GOE local funding. Thus, projects should ensure that project control (both the financial and implementation authority) is at governorate level. However, to ensure that the projects programs can be implemented, co operation (particularly regarding financial cash flows) needs to be secured at national level. For this purpose, an NCC should be set up. It should be possible to improve the implementation efficiency in future projects by streamlining project organizational arrangements. In particular, the position of Project Coordinator, which is redundant should be suppressed. The PCUs should continue to act as service units run by Managers while Governorate PCCs should assume the full and ultimate authority for the coordination of project implementation. The line agencies would bear full responsibility for the implementation of their programs. To facilitate relationships between the NCC and the project, a Project Services Office (PSO) should be located with the MOALR's Foreign Agricultural Relations Offices; it should not have financial control for the project. Its responsibility would be to provide services for the governorate PCUs.

The project would have benefitted had its senior officials been better briefed about organization and management; a short term "project (turn key) start up" contract, to translate the SAR into a working document and to organize workshops for senior field staff would have been useful. Thus, the appointment of a short term "turn key" rural development consultant at the commencement of new IFAD projects is recommended.

As the procurement of vehicles has been a major bone of contention in the FADP, the purchase details for vehicles have to be accurately defined at SAR; conversely there must be some flexibility in the ability of a project and IFAD to agree on the purchase of alternative vehicles locally in the interests of the project.

Technology transfer

While the project adopted and modified the T&V system, a considerable number of problems and weaknesses occurred which led to delays in, and modification to, the programs of work. However, the high level of activity attained by the VEWs and increased production by smallholders provides a clear indication of the merits of the system for Egypt.

The immediate weaknesses to be resolved in the extension system are the increased involvement of farmers in localized adaptive research constraints analysis and on farm trials; the broader development of the contact farmers and their individual sub societal farmers' groups away from the co operatives to be more representative of the marginalised communities; the establishment of a lasting and effective working research and extension at governorate level; the establishment of a permanently staffed agricultural extension training center for staff and leading farmer training; the establishment of a productive Development Support Communication Section; the development of a well researched women's extension programme of activities; the provision of transport and an operational budget including, in the prevailing economic situation, incentives; an overall improvement to the system and effectiveness of organization and management, and the frequent, objective, monitoring and self evaluation by management of field programme activities.

Whilst many of the above mentioned weaknesses can be rectified, the major improvements can never be achieved until such time as GOE is able to undertake a complete revision of the civil service bureaucracy, reducing the number of extension field staff by at least 75% and increasing the salaries and allowances within the service to levels appropriate to the economy, in association with the provision for locally planned annual work programs with adequate operational funds and transport.

In line with the GOE's policy of reducing the number of public servants and in recognition of the fact that a small but well motivated and better trained extension force could effectively man a modified T&V extension system it is recommended that the ratio of VEW to farmer be increased to at least 1:500.

To allow such a modified system (or indeed any T&V system) to function on a sustainable basis, the following key subsidiary recommendations are made:

  • funds for realistic levels of incentives must be secured. At negotiation this must be a "critical issue";
  • payment of incentives for all personnel involved in the project must be linked to performance be it in training or field performance; or both;
  • all SMSs and VEWs must be trained to a higher level in areas specifically related to the project;
  • the responsibility for agricultural regulatory functions must be transferred away from T&V VEWs;
  • a fully illustrated T&V extension manual should be developed for the LPIP project illustrating the system of operations; and
  • technical material should be developed (and/or simplified) and distributed as well as illustrated technical packages to farmers and village schools. Much more use must be made of communication through radio, television and the audio visual media.

As a prerequisite to implementing productive women's activities, the following steps should be taken:

  • a well qualified and experienced woman should be appointed as the women's development advisor to each of the governorate's PCCs; whilst at the same time advising the Directors of Extension and the Heads of Women's extension programming;
  • the involvement of women should be developed and managed through the formation of a Women's Working Group at governorate level, combining the available resources of extension with those of all the Non Government Organizations (NGOs) in the governorate working on women's activities at village level;
  • a detailed socio economic survey of the rural women's situation should be undertaken. The results of this survey together with a "pooling" of locally available experience and the identification of reasons for the failure of women's activities would establish a more solid basis for project activities; and
  • the proposal, in the LPIP, to establish women's centres (ten in each district of the three governorates) should be placed in abeyance until the actions recommended have been undertaken and conclusions drawn.

Regular monthly workshops should be held at district level involving senior extension staff, district SMSs and all other agencies, including the Bank for Development and Agricultural Credit (BDAC), involved in development to formulate detailed monthly work programs which would then be implemented in a cohesive manner.

The LPIP assumed that there was adequate livestock technology available and that it merely needs to be applied. The appraisal team should check this assumption thoroughly.

Credit

Although an estimated half of the funds for the main activity (purchase of buffaloes/cows) was frudulently used for other purposes, all loans were issued to farmers with five feddans of land or less and repayment rates have been, overall, satisfactory. This would indicate that the bank's mechanism for lending to specific groups was effective and, provided that activities suited to borrowers could be identified, small farmers could successfully service loans. Given the basis of overall FADP experience the following recommendations are made:

  • funds should be directed at specified smallholder activities geared to match the resources of the farmers and a ceiling should be placed on the size of loans to help in spreading potential benefits;
  • while there are proven activities accepted by BDAC, others need to be presented as commercially viable packages while some need further commercial testing. To strengthen BDAC's capacity to update activities and to strengthen new ones, funds should be made available to the recruitment of a practically-oriented person from the private sector specifically for this task; and
  • a mechanism allowing non-heizah4 cardholders to access BDAC funds for viable activities should be developed.

With specific regard to credit in the LPIP, the following recommendations were made:

  • the appraisal mission should firstly confirm that lack of credit is, in fact, constraining smallholders livestock activities. PBDAC has numerous credit lines through its own sources as well as foreign assistance monies available particularly for traditional types of credit such as poultry, goats and sheep. These livestock make up 60% of the proposed loan portfolio in the LPIP;
  • some of the assumptions made in formulating the lending proposals should be re examined at appraisal. For instance, the numbers of goats and sheep to be purchased through the project amount to about one third of the governorates' current numbers; as well, the project is to lend for about 17 times the total number of chickens present;
  • both financial soundness and logistical supports requirements for smallholder poultry enterprises need to be carefully examined at appraisal. In the light of experience are poultry, given the now high cost of feed, a viable enterprise for small farmers; and
  • the LPIP Formulation Report concluded that buffalo enterprises are not financially sound; the mission calculated, on the assumption that the animal is fed by farm produced fodder and crop residues (which it did not cost), that the enterprise could accumulate a substantial net benefit. As well, the fact remains that the buffalo is popular with rural dwellers; it is recommended that the appraisal should look more closely at the economic/social importance of the buffalo in the smallholder farming system.

Lessons learned

Given that a T&V system along classical lines (ie low VEW for farmer ratio) cannot be locally funded an alternative system, based on a much wider VEW to farmer ratio, serviced by a better trained, better paid and adequately equipped extension force is likely to be more cost effective. IFAD, in conjunction with other donors, should encourage the GOE to move along these lines. Any future IFAD interventions in extension should gear the size of its operations for the amount of recurrent operating costs that the borrower is able to fund.

Project design should ensure that project control (both the financial and implementation authority) is at governate level. To ensure financial cash flows, especially, projects need effective representation at national level. To facilitate relationships between a functional National Coordinating Committee and the project, a Project Services Office should be located with the MOALR's Foreign Agricultural Relations Offices; it should not have financial control. Its role, solely, would be to look after the projects' interest at national level.

The project would have benefited had its senior officials been better briefed about organizational management. Thus a short-term "project (turn-key) start up" contract, which translates the SAR into a working document and organizes workshops for senior field staff, should be a first step in project implementation.

In the context of the very poorly paid Egyptian public service, realistic levels of incentives must be assured. These incentives must, however, not be seen as "rights" but must be related to performance. Incentives should be a key issue at negotiation.

Producing detailed engineering designs, advertising tenders according to internationally accepted standards and procedures and the procurement of vehicles are major bones of contention. The necessary mechanisms and standards should be clearly defined at negotiation. Realistically, in the matter of vehicles there should be some flexibility in the interest of a project, should inordinate delays occur in the tendering process, for purchasing vehicles locally.

While projects should endeavour to develop farmer/extension/research linkages as a mechanism for conducting on-farm trials, the mechanism of using contracts between the project and a research institute (without excluding the farmer/extension/research linkage) to conduct targeted research, should be used where appropriate.

In the area of credit it is evident that small farmers can service loans for proven activities. As well BDAC is quite capable of targeting a particular segment of the farming community if given the appropriate incentive. Given this positive situation IFAD should promote the identification and development of more financially profitable activities and, secondly, help BDAC develop mechanisms for increasing its clientele by including farmers, who are not landowners or official tenants, as potential borrowers.


1/ With de-regulation of crop prices and the availability of private sector supply inputs, rotations are changing.

2/ Livestock Production Improvement Project (LPIP).

3/ Giving a VEW to farmer ratio of 1:200.

4/This card, which is only issued to landowners or official tenants, entitles holders to agricultural inputs from BDAC.

 

LANGUAGES: English

Generation and Transfer of Agricultural Technology and Seed ProductionProject - PROGETTAP (1992)

Guatemala  
septiembre 1992

Resumen estructurado del informe de evaluación preterminal

Objectivos del proyecto y diseño

Grupo objetivo

El proyecto atendería a 40 400 pequeños y medianos agricultores y a 560 pequeños y medianos ganaderos.

Objetivos y componentes

El principal objetivo del proyecto era desarrollar la capacidad institucional de generar asistencia agrícola efectiva, creando los medios para integrar investigación y extensión. En segundo lugar, el proyecto debería establecer un sistema de transferencia de tecnología eficiente, que asegurara que los productores recibían un apoyo tecnológico continuo para sus actividades productivas. De esta forma, se fomentaría la producción de cultivos y especies animales que son la base de la alimentación de la población.

El proyecto tenía cinco componentes: 1) generación de tecnología, 2) transferencia de tecnología agrícola, 3) transferencia de tecnología pecuaria, 4) producción de semillas y 5) administración, seguimiento y evaluación.

Supuestos y efectos esperados

Los supuestos del proyecto eran los siguientes: 1) que en Guatemala existía ya un acervo de tecnología suficiente para ser utilizado provechosamente en la promoción de un cambio importante en la tecnología empleada por los pequeños productores, 2) que las instituciones públicas de generación y transferencia de tecnología podían ser integradas para trabajar juntas para ofrecer servicios más efectivos a los agricultores, aplicando una metodología única de trabajo en el campo, 3) que para apoyar el trabajo en el campo, las instituciones poseían suficiente personal, pero adolecían de fondos para cubrir gastos de operación, de equipo de transportes suficiente y de insumos para apoyar las labores de validación y transferencia a los agricultores, y 4) que la producción de semilla era el elemento clave. El supuesto implícito que existió fue que para introducir cambios de variedades entre los pequeños productores, no era indispensable el crédito.

Evaluation

Contexto de la implementación y su evolución

El proyecto de generación y transferencia de tecnología agropecuaria y producción de semillas (PROGETTAPS) fue diseñado a finales de la década de los años setenta cuando el gobierno de Guatemala impulsó políticas de producción de granos básicos, así como otros cultivos y actividades pecuarias como un medio para aumentar la seguridad alimentaria y los ingresos de los pequeños agricultores. La solución al problema de baja productividad agrícola se buscó en el desarrollo y transferencia de nueva tecnología más productiva. El primer paso en esta dirección consistiría en desarrollar una capacidad institucional para dar esos servicios de forma integrada a nivel del agricultor, y el segundo paso sería la difusión de la tecnología a los pequeños y medianos agricultores objeto del proyecto.

Se pueden señalar como aspectos socioeconómicos y políticos que incidieron negativamente sobre el medio en que se desarrolla el proyecto los siguientes: 1) la crisis económica que enfrentó el país durante la década que comenzó en 1979, que llevó a adoptar medidas restrictivas de gasto público, afectando la capacidad de ejecución de las instituciones involucradas en el proyecto, 2) la falta de políticas coherentes tanto en servicios públicos (educación y salud) e infraestructura indispensables para estimular condiciones de desarrollo, como en el fomento de la producción (precios bajos para cultivos alimenticios) dirigidas a la población rural pobre, 3) la violencia política, sobre todo en el período anterior a 1986, y 4) la dificultad de transferir a los pequeños agricultores la tecnología apta para ellos que se había logrado desarrollar. Como aspectos que pueden considerarse que favorecieron al proyecto pueden señalarse: 1) la apertura de nuevas oportunidades de producción, por medio de la diversificación de cultivos, política que se ha reforzado en los últimos años, y 2) una cierta capitalización del campo financiada por remesas del exterior.

Logros del proyecto

Uno de los logros del proyecto fue la producción artesanal de variedades de semilla mejorada realizada por pequeños agricultores. La rápida expansión de esta semilla después de 1987 con el apoyo del proyecto fue muy importante para la amplia difusión de las nuevas variedades en el área. Esto generó una nueva actividad productiva: semillas, una nueva fuente de ingresos para pequeños agricultores. Se comprobó que era cierta la premisa de que la semilla de variedades mejoradas era el factor clave para introducir nueva tecnología, aunque no fue la semilla registrada y certificada la que llegó al pobre rural, sino la semilla artesanal.

Otro logro importante fue la rápida incorporación de los "representantes agrícolas (RAs)" (campesinos locales que hablan el idioma del grupo objetivo), un mecanismo desarrollado por el MAGA (no financiado por el proyecto) para relacionar a las instituciones con las comunidades. Aunque en el diseño original del proyecto se incluía un agente parecido a los RAs, no estaba previsto que jugara un papel tan importante, ya que fue a través de los RAs que el proyecto obtuvo la confianza de los agricultores y consiguió llegar a un grupo de beneficiarios numeroso (ya que se redujeron los costos de transferencia de tecnología).

La metodología utilizada para la producción animal fue muy diferente. Las técnicas que debían ser transferidas a pequeños y medianos ganaderos comprendían un paquete completo y relativamente caro, lo que significaba que una adopción parcial no sería suficiente para mostrar los beneficios de la nueva tecnología. Además, DIGESEPE no tenía experiencia en transferencia de tecnología a productores, y el ICTA no tenía un gran paquete de nuevas tecnologías, por lo que la tecnología propuesta se limitó a la existente en un proyecto anterior. Este componente llegó a un número relativamente pequeño de productores (360), muchos de los cuales eran medianos productores. Por ello, el método recibió cambios sustanciales, ya que enseguida se comprobó que era muy caro para los beneficiarios. De todas formas, se ha obtenido un efecto sustancial con la adopción de mejoras en la alimentación del ganado durante la estación seca, tanto en términos de producción de leche como en ingresos, incluso en productores pequeños.

El proyecto supo adaptarse e introducir cambios. Esta flexibilidad se muestra en: 1) la absorción y el aprovechamiento del programa de los RAs, 2) el diseño y financiamiento del programa de semilla artesanal (una adaptación de una idea salida de la base), 3) la ampliación del área de acción de los cinco módulos o subregiones originales hasta 15, 4) la incorporación de manera explícita de la extensión dirigida a fomentar actividades productivas y educativas con mujeres, niños y jóvenes de las comunidades, y 5) la modificación del modelo pecuario, ya que el originalmente diseñado era muy caro, por lo que hacía muy escasa su adopción.

El enfoque modular con el que el proyecto trabajó le permitió expandir su área de cobertura sin mucho esfuerzo, una vez que la expansión fue aprobada por la institución cooperante. La expansión fue sustancial, ya que originalmente cubría solamente cinco sub-regiones y en 1992 había alcanzado 15.

En general, la supervisión de la institución cooperante fue buena, especialmente a partir de 1988. El apoyo del BID ha sido reconocido como muy importante por las instituciones ejecutoras. La flexibilidad del Banco permitió la expansión del área del proyecto, la inclusión de mujeres y jóvenes como beneficiarios, el desarrollo del programa de semilla artesanal, etc.

A pesar de que hubo un intento en 1985 de establecer un sistema de seguimiento y evaluación, el proyecto funcionó durante varios años sin un sistema efectivo de seguimiento. Solo a partir de 1989 la Unidad de Seguimiento y Evaluación (USE) fue operativa. Cuando se diseñó, a la USE se le asignaron tareas de seguimiento del proyecto pero -también- se le asignaron tareas de una USE sectorial. La USE realizó un gran número de útiles estudios, pero debe mejorar sus técnicas de recogida, análisis y síntesis de información.

Efectos, impactos y sostenibilidad

El proyecto ha sido exitoso en cumplir en buena medida sus objetivos: 1) fortaleció la capacidad institucional pública para generar y transferir tecnología a pequeños productores, 2) desarrolló una metodología de trabajo conjunta entre el Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Agrícola (ICTA) y la Dirección General de Servicios Agrícolas (DIGESA) y entre el ICTA y la Dirección General de Servicios Pecuarios (DIGESEPE) que luego de siete años de aplicación en el proyecto el MAGA está planteando generalizar a todo el país, y 3) alcanzó con servicios efectivos a un gran número de pequeños agricultores (unos 30 000 en forma más o menos directa, y otros más indirectamente).

El proyecto ha cumplido estos objetivos a un coste inferior al programado (incluso habiéndose extendido de cuatro a ocho años), debido a que los recursos aumentaron sustancialmente por las devaluaciones del quetzal respecto al dólar americano y del dólar americano respecto a los DEG ocurridas durante la implementación. Esto llevó a una cancelación parcial del préstamo del BID y a que no todos los fondos del préstamo FIDA se vayan a utilizar antes de la fecha del cierre.

El éxito del proyecto se debió tanto a la simplicidad de la tecnología que se transfirió (variedades mejoradas en casi todos los casos) como a su habilidad para incorporar y sacar ventaja de la incorporación de nuevas herramientas que aparecieron durante la implementación.

Cuestiones principales y recomendaciones

Existe el riesgo de que mucho de lo logrado no pueda ser sostenible en el futuro, debido a que el gobierno no ha reforzado con presupuesto nacional al ICTA, al DIGESA ni al DIGESEPE en los últimos años, creando en estas instituciones una dependencia muy fuerte del PROGETTAPS para su operación. De hecho, las máximas autoridades del momento en el MAGA mostraban no estar convencidos de la utilidad de dedicar muchos recursos a la generación y transferencia de tecnología para productos alimenticios.

La metodología implementada (no la planteada) por el proyecto no ha podido escapar a ser vertical y algo paternalista. Esto no es producto del proyecto, viene desde antes, pero el proyecto no fue capaz de cambiarlo.

Existieron problemas en los procedimientos utilizados para los desembolsos. El BID requería demasiados detalles en los requerimientos de desembolsos por parte del proyecto, lo que incrementó innecesariamente el papeleo. La no utilización de la cuenta especial del FIDA podría indicar que el oficial del Banco no estaba familiarizado con este procedimiento del Fondo.

Teniendo en cuenta los éxitos alcanzados por el proyecto, se recomienda que el FIDA y el gobierno negocien una extensión del período de desembolsos, con el objetivo de permitir al país seguir con la ejecución del proyecto durante algunos meses de 1993. Estos fondos deberán utilizarse -entre otras- para las siguientes actividades: 1) Revisar la metodología del proyecto, con la intención de analizar las variaciones que han sido introducidas informalmente durante la ejecución, pero que no han sido escrutadas en detalle para determinar si se siguieron o se modificaron las metodologías previstas en el diseño. 2) Realizar estudios para investigar el funcionamiento y el impacto de las nuevas actividades introducidas durante la ejecución (producción artesanal de semillas, incorporación de los RAs, inclusión de mujeres y jóvenes como beneficiarios). 3) Desarrollar una guía de las actividades de seguimiento y evaluación llevadas a cabo por el proyecto, que podría se útil para otros proyectos.

Debido a que dos nuevos proyectos en el país utilizan versiones modificadas de la tecnología del PROGETTAPS, sería recomendable un análisis comparativo de los tres proyectos.

Una posible extensión del proyecto debe centrarse en las actividades de generación y transferencia de tecnología que el PROGETTAPS desarrolló mejor (prueba de variedades de granos básicos y hortalizas para consumo doméstico, basados en parcelas de transferencia de tecnología, días de campo y producción artesanal de semillas), evitando las complicaciones que podrían resultar de la introducción de componentes adicionales. De hecho, en el PROGETTAPS, la no inclusión de otros componentes como el crédito hizo más sencilla la organización del proyecto, y -posiblemente- facilitó su ejecución.

Otras prácticas agrícolas que se podrían incorporar a un PROGETTAPS ampliado: 1) conservación de suelos, 2) actividades forestales o agroforestales, 3) prácticas agronómicas de bajo costo para el agricultor (abonos orgánicos, cambios de densidad de siembra, diferentes rotaciones o asocios, sistemas de poda, uso más eficiente del agua, etc.), y 4) incorporación de bienes de capital no sofisticados (silos metálicos para el almacenamiento de granos o implementos modificados de tracción animal).

Analizar la posibilidad de incorporar alguna organización no gubernamental (ONG) dentro de las actividades de un PROGETTAPS ampliado, ya que existen más de 60 ONGs en Guatemala con proyectos agrícolas con pequeños productores.

Lecciones aprendidas

No existe ninguna ventaja especial en incorporar un componente de crédito agrícola dentro de un proyecto de generación y transferencia de tecnología agropecuaria. Se puede introducir tecnología entre agricultores muy pequeños sin necesidad de crédito. Para algunos productores, como los de semilla artesanal, que necesiten crédito para expandir su producción, una alternativa sería estimular la creación de pequeños fondos rotatorios por parte de ONGs y/o cooperativas que serían complementarias al proyecto.

El uso de campesinos locales como colaboradores de la extensión y de la promoción ha demostrado ser exitoso en todos los casos. Esta experiencia ha permitido: reducir de forma sustancial los costos de transferencia de tecnología, mejorar la comunicación con los agricultores y su aceptación de la nueva tecnología, crear una fuente de empleo local alternativa, y permitir una continuidad de las actividades de extensión después de la finalización del proyecto.

 

LANGUAGES: English, Spanish

Integrated Rural Development in the Department of Paraguari (1992)

Paraguay  
septiembre 1992

Resumen estructurado del informe de evaluación ex-post.

El departamento de Paraguarí es una de las regiones de más antiguo poblamiento del país. De hecho, importantes zonas y comunidades ya fueron incorporadas a la dinámica socio-económica y política durante el período colonial.

Las principales características y tendencias de su estructura socio-económica, durante el período histórico más reciente, estuvieron condicionadas por los siguientes factores: 1) la debilidad del proceso de urbanización; 2) el papel insignificante de la actividad industrial, compensado en parte, y en determinadas zonas, por la relativa expansión de la artesanía rural; 3) el peso que aún mantiene la economía campesina en la mayoría de los distritos, en coexistencia con el latifundio ganadero, especialmente en la parte sur del departamento; y 4) la cada vez más amplia y creciente articulación de las estructura productiva y de empleo departamentales con los mecanismos del mercado, cuyo epicentro está ubicado en el área metropolitana de Asunción.

Objetivos del proyecto y diseño

Grupo objetivo

El componente de caminos se ejecutaría en caminos que guardaran una estrecha relación de continuidad con el resto de la red de caminos del departamento, que no requirieran puentes de más de 50 metros de largo, y que demostraran igual o mayor nivel de tráfico que los tramos a ser sustituidos. Para los caminos de tipo A, además, se exigió que sirvieran de comunicación a importantes centros de población del área del proyecto. Y a los de tipo B, se exigió que sirvieran a poblaciones asentadas en localidades con buen potencial agropecuario, industrial o artesanal o, en su defecto, mostraran, en su área de influencia, una densidad superior a 90 habitantes por kilómetro cuadrado.

Para la electrificación de las comunidades rurales se tuvieron en cuenta las siguientes condiciones: 1) núcleos rurales donde se centralizaran proyectos agropecuarios de carácter intensivo, 2) núcleos orientados hacia la producción artesanal y las industrias rurales pequeñas, 3) núcleos con mayor concentración de viviendas, que poseyeran instalaciones de salud, educación y oficinas gubernamentales, o en donde estas instalaciones debieran ser construidas por el proyecto, o 4) núcleos cuyos costos de extensión de la red y de suministro de servicio por usuario estén dentro de los límites aceptables por la Administración Nacional de Electricidad (ANDE).

En el área de educación, las construcciones, los equipamientos y los programas de capacitación, fueron llevados a cabo en los locales y centros escolares que cumplían con las siguientes condiciones: 1) pertenecer a la red integrada de Centros Educativos Rurales (CER), 2) que se utilicen las innovaciones introducidas por la "reforma educativa", 3) que estén ubicados dentro del área de la población media determinada por el proyecto, 4) que satisfagan las necesidades de matrícula de la población en edad escolar de su zona de influencia, y que la relación esperada de matrícula por carga docente justifique su inclusión. Una vez cumplidos los requisitos anteriores, se descartarían las escuelas o centros que tuvieran necesidad de una sola aula.

Para la ubicación de puestos de salud se acordaron los siguientes criterios: 1) núcleos con concentración de población entre 500 y 2 000 habitantes, 2) localidades de difícil acceso a los servicios de salud existentes en el departamento, y 3) núcleos con disponibilidad de agua y de otra infraestructura social en funcionamiento.

Los beneficiarios del crédito serían aproximadamente 3 000 campesinos, que dispusieran de una superficie superior a 8 ha. e inferior a 20. Para ser sujeto de crédito, el agricultor debía ser propietario, tener antecedentes de uso de crédito, una situación patrimonial saneada, presentar un proyecto de explotación que evidenciara la capacidad de repago de la deuda, presentar garantías prendarias e hipotecarias y contratar un seguro sobre los bienes prendados. Además, se planteaba la asistencia financiera a 350 productores artesanos y pequeños industriales.

Objetivos y componentes

El proyecto fue diseñado con los siguientes objetivos: 1) mejorar la estructura fundaria y contribuir a la consolidación de la tenencia de la tierra, mediante acciones de titulación y de reordenamiento parcelario; 2) incrementar la producción y la productividad agrícola, de la pequeña industria y de la artesanía, mediante la utilización del crédito, la promoción organizativa y la expansión de las obras de infraestructura (caminos y electrificación rural); y 3) extender los servicios de salud y educación a los sectores y grupos marginados en la población rural.

Se diseñaron y ejecutaron ocho componentes: 1) titulación de tierras y reordenamiento parcelario; 2) crédito; 3) asistencia técnica; 4) caminos; 5) electrificación rural; 6) educación; 7) salud; y 8) capacitación y organización social.

Supuestos y efectos esperados

Los efectos esperados eran los siguientes: 1) mejorar la estructura fundaria y contribuir a la consolidación de la tenencia de la tierra, mediante acciones de titulación y de reordenamiento parcelario; 2) incrementar la producción y la productividad agrícola, de la pequeña industria y de la artesanía, mediante la utilización del crédito, la promoción organizativa y la expansión de las obras de infraestructura (caminos y electrificación rural); y 3) extender los servicios de salud y educación a los sectores y grupos marginados en la población rural.

Evaluación

Contexto de la implementación y su ejecución

El proyecto fue diseñado y ejecutado en un clima social y político autoritario. Ese clima lo condicionó y lo modeló de manera directa e indirecta. Las restricciones provinieron, por un lado, de las señales y controles del gobierno central y del núcleo dominante, a través de las distintas instituciones del Estado, incluido el partido político oficialista. Por el otro, en el escenario regional, existieron condicionamientos políticos que -en cierta medida- no estimularon una ejecución del proyecto más acorde con los objetivos y la lógica con los que fue concebido. Entre ellos, destacan el caudillismo y el clientelismo políticos.

Fue en el ámbito de la participación de la población beneficiaria donde repercutieron más hondamente esos condicionantes. Los espacios para que tanto las organizaciones de base como los actores sociales y políticos participaran en las instancias de organización promovidas fueron estrechos, y requerían de recursos y de capacidades de las que no siempre disponían.

Logros del proyecto

Las metas se cumplieron en términos razonables y en varios de los componentes las previsiones fueron inclusive superadas.

El papel de principal institución ejecutora fue asumido desde 1989 por el Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería (MAG), a través de la Oficina Nacional (ONCAP), ya que esa función institucional no pudo ser cubierta por el Consejo de Fomento de la Producción Agrícola Nacional (CFPAN).

La Unidad Ejecutora fue diseñada como una instancia técnica, encargada de la concertación y complementación de las acciones llevadas a cabo en cada uno de los componentes. Sin embargo, sus actividades técnicas no sólo se limitaron a la coordinación, sino que también se extendieron a tareas propias de la ejecución de partes de los componentes. Su papel tampoco se redujo a funciones exclusivamente técnicas, porque se vio en la necesidad de asumir un papel de actor político, dado el contexto histórico en que la implementación tuvo lugar. Esta ampliación del campo de acción de la Unidad Ejecutora consiguió un papel más efectivo, supliendo las limitaciones de las entidades encargadas de las tareas de ejecución. Sin embargo, por otro lado, esta opción cayó en un cierto activismo y -en cierta medida- de asistencialismo.

Titulación de tierras y reordenamiento parcelario. 1) La meta del reasentamiento de 110 familias de una de las zonas más minifundistas del departamento no se cumplió en ninguna medida. 2) Se consiguió el saneamiento de la tenencia de la tierra como resultado de las actividades de titulación.

Crédito. Tuvieron acceso al financiamiento productores agropecuarios de tamaño económico mayor al inicialmente previsto. Quedaron fuera los segmentos del campesinado que por sus dimensiones económicas concentrarían la mayor parte de la pobreza rural de la región.

El número de créditos otorgados fue de casi 4 000, lo cual implica un nivel de cobertura del servicio un tercio superior al inicialmente previsto de 3 000 beneficiarios. De todas formas, las estimaciones realizadas indican que el número de beneficiarios fue sustancialmente inferior a esta cifra, ya que un mismo prestatario pudo acceder a varias líneas diferentes de crédito en un mismo año o recurrir al crédito en diferentes años.

El nivel de mora y el porcentaje de las carteras de baja recuperación han sido muy bajos. El 6.5% de los prestatarios estuvo en algún momento con atraso en el reembolso del crédito. Y en términos de los montos de crédito en mora, estos representaron el 2.9% de lo desembolsado. Para la explicación del bajo nivel de mora se pueden encontrar dos factores: 1) las garantías exigidas tanto hipotecarias como prendarias representaban una buena cobertura de la operación de préstamo, y 2) las tasas de interés de los préstamos implicaban un costo real negativo.

Los productores campesinos que tuvieron acceso al crédito rural obtuvieron un menor ingreso promedio extrapredial, independientemente del tamaño de la explotación. Esto podría sugerir que el acceso al crédito está asociado a las unidades campesinas con mayor nivel de sustentabilidad como unidades de producción.

Inicialmente la Unidad de Seguimiento y Evaluación (USE) no estuvo ubicada en la sede del proyecto, sino en la Oficina Nacional de Progreso Social (ONPS). No obstante, en marzo de 1985 la USE fue trasladada a la sede del proyecto. Este traslado físico fue simultáneo a un desplazamiento en el énfasis de las actividades de evaluación a las de seguimiento. A medida que fueron pasando los años, la USE fue perdiendo peso, esto se refleja en que fueron desapareciendo las Memorias publicadas por el proyecto. De todas formas, se generaron importantes estudios, análisis e instrumentos metodológicos en el ámbito de la evaluación y seguimiento.

Efectos, impactos y sostenibilidad

La asistencia y la capacitación técnicas hicieron factible el incremento de producción, de las hectáreas cultivadas y de la productividad de determinados rubros agrícolas, tanto de venta (algodón) como de autoconsumo (mandioca y poroto). El mejoramiento de la producción de estos productos no sólo permitió ampliar la fuente alimentaria de las familias campesinas beneficiarias sino que también permitió un mayor acceso al mercado y a la captación de ingresos alternativos.

  • Adopción de tecnología y desarrollo de capacidades. Los logros más significativos tuvieron lugar en aquellos casos en los que la capacitación y la difusión tecnológica estuvieron vinculadas al proceso productivo de rubros de renta (comerciales). Por el contrario, los resultados fueron limitados en los casos en los que la adopción tecnológica no fue acompañada de los condicionamientos y de los estímulos del mercado.
  • Superficie cultivada. La superficie cultivada de los principales rubros disminuyó considerablemente entre 1983 y 1991. De hecho, la superficie cultivada es una variable muy sensible a la rentabilidad de los cultivos. El fuerte deterioro de los precios agrícolas probablemente contribuyó, junto con la extinción de la influencia del proyecto, a la disminución de las superficies cultivadas y cosechadas en los años subsiguientes a la terminación del proyecto.
  • Producción física y rendimiento. El nivel productivo que se logró en 1991 se obtuvo con una superficie cultivada significativamente inferior respecto al año base. Esto se debe a los mejores rendimientos de los cultivos de referencia (maíz, poroto, algodón y mandioca). El proyecto había propiciado el uso de semillas mejoradas en los cultivos del maíz y del algodón, además de difundir técnicas de tratamiento para el algodón, consiguiendo aumentar los rendimientos en 1988, aunque volvió a decaer ligeramente en 1991.
  • En términos generales, se puede afirmar que la influencia del proyecto sobre la productividad, al cabo de dos años de su finalización, se manifiesta en forma directa sólo en algunos pocos rubros, pero el rendimiento está más influido por el mercado que por la tecnología. Sin embargo, se advierte un notable aumento productivo durante los años de vigencia del proyecto, que decayó después de su finalización.
  • Producción ganadera. El valor bruto de la producción ganadera, a precios de 1991, tuvo una merma del más del 20%. El menor valor de esta producción fue resultado de una menor venta y consumo de animales y de una producción inferior de los derivados de la ganadería, así como del deterioro de los precios de estos derivados. No obstante, la menor producción también puede reflejar una posible retracción de esta actividad entre los pequeños productores.
  • No se observan mejoras en el nivel del capital de explotación de las fincas del departamento como consecuencia de la aplicación del proyecto. El proceso de descomposición de las actividades agropecuarias, tanto como organización productiva familiar o como fuente de empleo temporal o permanente de la mano de obra campesina, es tan acentuado que vuelve imperceptible la influencia del proyecto, cuyo aporte más significativo pudo haber sido la atenuación de ese proceso, aunque no en la magnitud y alcance como para revertirlo.

Fue en la esfera de la construcción y del mejoramiento de las obras de infraestructura (caminos, electrificación y locales escolares y de salud) en la que los resultados de la ejecución del proyecto fueron más notorios. Desde un punto de vista amplio, estos resultados podrían ser interpretados como la materialización de una modernización primaria, ya que esta infraestructura dinamizó la provisión de servicios que repercutieron directa e indirectamente en la vida social, económica y cultural del departamento.

El mejoramiento de los caminos generó la disminución de los tiempos de desplazamiento y los costos de pasajes y fletes en los caminos troncales y vecinales que articulan a los núcleos urbanos y rurales más dinámicos del departamento. Sin embargo, los caminos troncales y vecinales que unen núcleos urbanos y rurales menos importantes tuvieron impactos más limitados. Esto se manifiesta en su más reducida utilización y en el escaso mantenimiento que han y están recibiendo.

La electrificación rural recibió una amplia acogida de las distintas comunidades beneficiarias. Este servicio fue destinado no sólo al uso doméstico sino también al uso productivo (talleres artesanales y pequeñas industrias). Con posterioridad a 1988 la electrificación rural siguió expandiéndose en la región gracias al sistema de ayuda mutua adoptado por la Administración Nacional de Electricidad (ANDE) con el fin de que comunidades no atendidas por el proyecto pudieran contar con fluido eléctrico. Con este sistema la comunidad pone la mano de obra y los materiales.

Educación. El acondicionamiento y equipamiento de locales escolares y la dotación de recursos humanos fueron factores que mejoraron la cobertura y la calidad de la oferta educativa en comunidades en las que ésta era deficitaria.

Salud. Aumentó el acceso por parte de la población beneficiaria y de toda la población rural del departamento a los servicios de salud, debido tanto a la construcción, mejoramiento y equipamiento de las distintas unidades, como al aumento de recursos humanos calificados (médicos, enfermeras y obstretas).

Capacitación y organización social. La promoción de organizaciones campesinas (comités de agricultores y comisiones vecinales) creó condiciones propicias para la difusión y cierta legitimación de estos actores rurales, en una etapa histórica y política en la que el autoritarismo imponía serias restricciones a la participación social.

Los programas de capacitación en los que participaron funcionarios y técnicos contribuyeron a elevar el perfeccionamiento del personal de las instituciones. Los extensionistas del proyecto accedieron no sólo a una reactualización de sus conocimientos, sino que también tuvieron oportunidad de recibir y reflexionar sobre nuevos enfoque de asistencia técnica agropecuaria y de promoción campesina.

Aunque originariamente, ni en el diseño ni en la ejecución se incluyó de forma explícita una perspectiva que privilegiara orientaciones y prácticas tendientes a preservar el medio ambiente, de una manera más bien implícita ha surgido el interés por un enfoque de corte ecologista en el marco del proyecto. Fue a raíz de esa reorientación que una parte de las actividades de componente de asistencia agropecuaria fue dedicada al aspecto de la conservación de los suelos. Los impactos más negativos en relación al medio ambiente, tuvieron lugar en la asistencia técnica brindada a los productores de algodón, a los que se recomendaba la aplicación de fitosanitarios que contenían elementos tóxicos.

Cuestiones principales y recomendaciones

Las tareas de coordinación entre la Unidad Coordinadora Central (UCC) y las distintas entidades ejecutoras, encontraron problemas en muchas ocasiones, que se debieron al manejo y estilo de acción propias de cada institución, lo que se reflejaba en un individualismo que no permitía un trabajo en conjunto adecuado. Esta situación obligó a la UCC a ampliar su campo de trabajo, incurriendo a veces en una suerte de activismo.

La secuencia en la iniciación de las actividades de los distintos componentes no fue atendida de acuerdo al plan acordado, particularmente en los casos de caminos y electrificación rural. De hecho, los mejoramientos y las construcciones de caminos comenzaron recién a principios de 1985, cuando el proyecto ya estaba promediado. Esto significó una falta de complementación entre los distintos componentes y un desmedro de la eficiencia del componente caminos. En el componente electrificación también se produjo un importante retraso en el inicio de las obras, lo que hizo que la generación de los efectos del uso del suministro eléctrico se concretara en un momento posterior al previsto.

Las actividades de reordenamiento parcelario no se ejecutaron, por lo que no se realizó el asentamiento de las 110 familias previsto originalmente. Aunque el cambio fue presentado y fundamentado ante el BID, quien concedió su autorización, es difícil admitir plenamente los motivos alegados para su exclusión: gran arraigo de las posibles familias beneficiarias y que la alternativa que se les ofrecía era de una zona que no poseía los equipamientos y los servicios comunitarios que existían en la comunidad de origen y que el propio proyecto estaba impulsando.

En el componente de crédito: 1) no se logró un equilibrio en la distribución geográfica de la oferta, 2) más del 50% de los prestatarios poseía explotaciones superiores a las 20 ha. (límite máximo establecido en los convenios contractuales), y 3) la mayoría de los prestatarios fueron clientes históricos del Banco Nacional de Fomento (BNF).

El sistema de formalización del pedido de crédito en el caso de los créditos industriales era engorroso. Algunos trámites tenían un carácter excesivamente burocrático. Algunos gerentes de sucursales tenían una escasa facultad para la toma de decisiones. No se fortalecieron, aunque estaba previsto, las sucursales que operan en la región del proyecto.

El proyecto no se fundamentó en un esquema explícito de mantenimiento y conservación del medio ambiente. Las acciones llevadas a cabo en esta materia fueron insuficientes y tardías.

Tampoco se prestó atención a la problemática de la mujer rural desde una perspectiva de género.

Existieron deficiencias en el mantenimiento y reposición de las obras de infraestructura, instalaciones y equipos, fundamentalmente en el campo de la salud y en los tramos camineros que unen a las comunidades rurales más estancadas del departamento. La falta de mantenimiento de los equipos en los puestos y centros de salud llevó a que en el momento de la Evaluación la mayoría de ellos no cuenten con los elementos mínimos para realizar un trabajo adecuado.

Las organizaciones promovidas encontraron obstáculos para el afianzamiento de su autonomía e identidad.

Los programas de capacitación en el que participaron extensionistas del proyecto no tuvieron una buena planificación ni un sistema constante de seguimiento y evaluación, por lo que no pudo concretarse un mayor aprovechamiento del perfeccionamiento profesional. Además, la capacitación abarcó, en una alta proporción, a las mismas personas que -en más de una ocasión- intervinieron en distintos eventos, limitándose el alcance de estas actividades.

Asistencia técnica: 1) Fuera de algunos cultivos de renta (algodón), las innovaciones tecnológicas agropecuarias promovidas por el proyecto tuvieron escaso impacto. 2) La mejora en la producción de determinados rubros agrícolas se verificó temporalmente, por lo que los resultados tuvieron alcances limitados, sobre todo una vez que el proyecto dejó de operar.

El diseño del sistema de seguimiento y evaluación fue deficiente, esto se expresó en la confusión entre ambas funciones y trajo como consecuencia el predominio del seguimiento sobre la evaluación.

La USE dedicó demasiados esfuerzos, en su fase inicial, al estudio de base, que posteriormente resultó de poca utilidad. También invirtió en el desarrollo de programas de computación 'ad-hoc', en lugar de optar por la adaptación de programas ya existentes.

La principal institución de coordinación y ejecución debe contar con la experiencia necesaria, los recursos y la autonomía suficientes con el fin de desempeñar adecuadamente sus funciones.

Debe exigirse y garantizarse que los componentes de crédito y asistencia técnica sean diseñados y aplicados de forma coordinada y complementaria.

Debe respetarse el orden de prelación en la iniciación de los distintos componentes, definido a partir de los objetivos y prioridades del proyecto.

Deben priorizarse las acciones de asistencia y capacitación técnica, acompañándolas con tareas de evaluación y seguimiento, con el fin de evitar la dispersión de esfuerzos, difundir los aciertos y minimizar los errores.

Deben separarse las funciones de seguimiento y evaluación, haciendo que la primera quede integrada al proyecto, y que la segunda se realice desde una instancia independiente.

Se debe evitar la imposición de esquemas apriorísticos y rígidos en la promoción de las organizaciones de la población beneficiaria, apelando a una estrategia de institucionalización gradual y potenciando las experiencias organizativas y de acciones colectivas de las mismas.

Establecer y aplicar mecanismos efectivos para la sostenibilidad de los proyectos de desarrollo rural, que deberán ser asumidos tanto por las instituciones (públicas o privadas) ejecutoras, como por los grupos o sectores de la población beneficiaria, a partir de un esquema de intervención social y política que supere la vieja y perniciosa dicotomía postulada y practicada entre la sociedad y el estado.

Deben establecerse y aplicarse mecanismos institucionales y acciones pertinentes con el fin de garantizar realmente la concreción de pasos orientados a la sostenibilidad de los resultados de proyectos futuros. Concretamente, estos mecanismos deberán prever claras exigencias y mandatos para las instituciones públicas o privadas encargadas de la ejecución de los distintos componentes. Asimismo, desde el diseño hasta las últimas fases de implementación deberán aplicarse las medidas apropiadas orientadas hacia la asunción por parte de la población beneficiaria de un activo papel, en el campo de la sostenibilidad. Se impone la necesidad de superar modelos de promoción y desarrollo que han estado atrapados en la dicotomía estado versus sociedad, sobre todo en un contexto de apertura política y democratización como el que se vive en Paraguay.

Cada programa de capacitación debe ir acompañado de tareas de seguimiento y evaluación que suministren elementos de juicio que avalen los avances obtenidos o sugieran las modificaciones necesarias, con el propósito de obtener los mejores resultados posibles.

Lecciones aprendidas

En la preparación del diseño del proyecto es necesario y conveniente apelar a criterios y pasos metodológicos que sean capaces de adaptarse y responder a la complejidad y a las transformaciones de la realidad. En el diseño del proyecto deben incorporarse elementos y procedimientos capaces de responder adecuadamente a los desafíos provenientes de esas transformaciones que -en gran medida- se manifiestan durante el tiempo que transcurre entre la preparación del diseño y el momento de la ejecución.

No se debe incurrir en el error de escoger como institución principal de ejecución y coordinación a una entidad de escasa institucionalidad y legitimidad. Es fundamental que esa institución cuente con la experiencia, los recursos y la autonomía institucional suficientes para el desempeño adecuado de sus funciones, y -en especial- las referidas a la supervisión de las acciones realizadas por las instituciones y actores que intervienen en la aplicación del proyecto.

Es conveniente que las tareas o funciones de coordinación y ejecución sean definidas de la forma más clara y precisa posible y que se arbitren -en la práctica- los mecanismos necesarios para que esas tareas sean efectivamente asumidas por las instituciones responsables.

Los componentes de crédito y de asistencia técnica deben ser diseñados y aplicados de forma coordinada y complementaria.

Las actividades de los componentes deben ser iniciadas de acuerdo a un orden de prelación que estará definida en el diseño, según los tipos de necesidades y problemas socioeconómicos y culturales a ser atendidos, y las prioridades que se determinen sobre la base de los estudios, diagnósticos y demandas planteadas por la población beneficiaria. Cuando las instituciones encargadas anteponen sus propias prioridades a las del proyecto, la consecuencia es el desfase entre las acciones de los distintos componentes, y la pérdida de oportunidad para que se generen resultados y dinámicas amplios.

Es conveniente separar las tareas de seguimiento de las de evaluación, haciendo que el primero funcione como parte integrante del proyecto y que la segunda opere de forma independiente.

En el documento del proyecto deben incluirse los términos de referencia a los que deben atenerse el seguimiento y la evaluación, entre los que deben figurar los indicadores básicos.

Es necesario que las misiones de supervisión verifiquen el funcionamiento de las tareas de seguimiento y evaluación sobre la base de los parámetros establecidos.

En la metodología de las actividades de seguimiento y evaluación deben incorporarse distintas técnicas de recolección y análisis de los datos, apelando al uso del 'software' existente.

 

LANGUAGES: English, Spanish

Smallholders Services Rehabilitation Project - Mid-term Evaluation(1992)

Zambia  
septiembre 1992

Mid-term Evaluation Report

The project is national in coverage but some components are directed to three districts in each of Eastern and Luapula provinces. Since almost all of rural Zambia is eligible for project assistance, the six districts are selected for special development effort on the basis of the following criteria: (a) drought proneness and/or persistent food supply problems; (b) the proportion of subsistence and women farmers; (c) satisfactory agricultural production potentials and (d) relatively good access to provincial centers. In Luapula the climate is subtropical. Rainfall varies between 900 and 1 300 mm/year. The main growing season is the hot/wet period October to April. Cassava is the staple diet, while fishing is for both household consumption and cash. In Eastern, the climate is hot and humid, with rainfall of 500 to 800 mm per years. The major crops grown are local maize, sorghum, millet and rice in flood areas for subsistence. Groundnuts as well as sunflower and cotton are grown as cash crops.

Project design and objectives

Target group

The project is designed to facilitate expansion of the cooperative services to reach the poorest segment of the rural population. More specifically, the project is expected to benefit primarily subsistence and marginal farmers in the selected districts with farm sizes ranging between 0.5 ha and 2 ha. The total numbers of targeted households are estimated at 45 000. However, at an adoption rate of 60% about 27 000 households would directly benefit in the 8th year of project implementation. In particular the project would attempt to reach the female headed households, comprising about 40% of all households in the selected areas of the Eastern Province. This group is among the most disadvantaged in terms of land allocation and all services. Project would give special attention to the nutritional status, particularly of the children, of whom 83% are below the normal weight. The project design contained several innovative features specifically designed to reach the target group. These are reflected in the mechanism for local cost funding, provision of group credit in a participatory mode and the Development Fund.

Objectives and components

Objectives. The project aimed to unblock the input delivery chain through the cooperative movement nationally, and to support rural development in key districts. It would furnish the regional impetus for shifts in resource allocation in the context of macro-economic restructuring including liberalization of inputs and products markets. Small farmers would be assisted in diversifying crop production in line with regional comparative advantage in production. To enhance the adjustment process, the project will provide the scarce foreign exchange for importation of farm input. Finally the project would reduce the national dependance on food imports and save foreign exchange.

Components. The project would finance: (i) input supply and credit services through providing funds to the Zambia Cooperative Federation Commercial Service (ZCFCS) to procure and distribute more efficiently farm inputs at the national level and utilize the revenue for local cost funding; (ii) provision of credit through ZCF Finance Services (FS) for processing enterprises; (iii) support of extension in Luapula Province in addition to promotion of cooperative services in both selected province; the Loan Agreement was subsequently amended to cover the financing of extension support in Eastern Province, too; (iv) up-grading of feeder roads and (v) establishing a fund to finance any development effort closely related to project objectives. The fund was designed as a window for flexible lending (and grants) to finance smallholders micro enterprises.

Project implementation would be supervised by a steering committee headed by the Permanent Secondary of Cooperatives. The Project Coordinator (PC) would be responsible for field implementation. The selected provinces would establish Coordination Committees to coordinate project activities at provincial level. The concerned line agencies, particularly the ZCF and its affiliations would execute their respective components.

Expected effects and assumptions

The expected results consist of benefits to smallholders in terms of increased agricultural productivity, value added from processing of farm produce and saving in transportation of inputs and products. Furthermore, households nutritional status should improve. Food security at the national level would be enhanced; and foreign exchange for food imports would be saved. The project would furthermore facilitate the implementation of a number of measures involved in the liberalization programme e.g. phasing of subsidies on maize.

Design Assumptions. Project implementation has suffered primarily because the assumption that the economic restructuring would start and take off was not valid. The continuation of the pan territorial pricing leads to serious misallocation of resources; and to inefficiency in maize marketing and fertiliser distribution. The continuation of subsidies lead to high inflation, making it difficult to maintain producer incentives in real terms. Finally the continuation of large subsidies on maize adversely affected demand and production of traditional foods such as cassava, sorghum and millet. Farmers' exposure to risk in maize cultivation increased yet further (late delivery of inputs, collection and payments); conversely the attraction of alternative crops increased, which was a costly and inefficient process of adjustment especially for the target group. Moreover during implementation, it became clear that the planned World Bank Research and Extension project tied to IFAD project, would not materialise and that the Department of Agriculture (DOA) could not provide adequate support from its own resources. There were therefore good reasons not to proceed with the project in its original design.

Evaluation

The evaluation team visited the six districts in which the project is active and held meetings with Provincial and District officials involved in project implementation. Emphasis was placed on direct contact with project beneficiaries, and a high proportion of the mission time in the field was devoted to individual and group meetings. The project staff participated fully in the field work and provided much of the information required by the mission. Requests for data by IFAD prior to the mission were made, and detailed reports had been prepared by most of the Provincial and District staff implementing the project.

In Spring 1990, a field survey of households was conducted in Luapula project districts as part of the evaluation of the project. The MTE mission was supplied with descriptive data by district. The survey provided the base with which to analyse constraints and preliminary impacts at the group and farm level. Similarly, baseline surveys had been undertaken by the M&E Unit, but were only partially analysed and reported. There was little, if any, objective M&E data on project impact, and this restricted analysis by the evaluation mission.

Implementation context

The implementation of the project has been clearly linked with the macro-economic policy reform aimed at correction of distortions, liberalization of markets, curbing of inflation, assertion of comparative advantage in production and hence improving food security. As such the project has been part of a package, the success of which is dependent on the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) as well as donors commitment to its realization. The slow down of the implementation of reforms reflected negatively on project achievements.

The Project Facilitation Unit (PFU) is located in Lusaka, far from project activities; not less than 30 different line agencies are involved, across the two provinces and in the six districts. Nevertheless the PFU has set up a functioning financial management system and procurement system in spite of project complexity. But the PFU has not been able to provide leadership and guidance with regard to the overall development process.

Project achievements

Limitations to Increased Production. Farmers face three major constraints: first, an agronomic non-suitability of continued monocropping of maize on commonly acidic soils in the absence of liming; second, collapsing systems for input delivery and maize marketing; and third, rising cost of fertiliser because of price liberalisation and subsidies reduction. Maize based farming will continue but with comparative advantage in areas closer to markets and points of input supply. With reduced fertiliser use, and the shift from intensive towards extensive cultivation methods, availability of labour and land became more binding constraints.

At the time of project initiation, Luapula was a serious food deficit area because of the ravages of the cassava mealy bug. This disease was later controlled by the successful application of IFAD funded Biological Control Programme developed by another IFAD project in the country, which resuscitated cassava production in the province. In Luapula, prospects for improved production and income are limited, except for the cassava based systems, vegetables in wetlands and along rivers, and possibly for maize grown close to semi urban centers. The situation would become brighter if the government actively encourages cross border trade with Zaire, where maize fetches a far higher return than in Zambia.

Progress with extension methodology. Notable progress has been made in creating an extension organisation in Luapula that has adopted a methodology based on small micro plots (spats) more responsive to the needs of small farmers. The T&V approach has been modified, but not sufficiently: the system of visits built upon individual contact farmers has been repeatedly proven ineffective. The T&V approach was implemented without training and support for diagnosis and feed back from extension workers to headquarters. A core team of extension workers should have been selected and supported to diagnose adoption rates, current trends in farming systems and constraints, and to report to their superiors and to researchers.

The decision to support extension in Eastern Province, for which the original loan agreement was amended in September 1988,is perhaps understandable since expected World Bank funding fell through, but there is no evidence that the implications and returns were properly studied. To add a further layer of complexity for the PFU was not justified. The benefits of the provided extension support in this province are uncertain or negative.

Credit use in line with intentions. The credit has been used for fertiliser application and not been diverted into consumption. The statistical analysis shows that adoption of fertiliser is positively associated with use of credit. Similarly the use of credit resources to support fisheries production through the Development Fund and for hammermills although late deserves much praise. The latter save labour in processing and transportation, especially for women; the technology is particularly applicable for remote locations.

High risk maize production supported by seasonal credit. The support of small or marginal producers, in a context of severe distortions in pricing and marketing structures, has meant that maize is produced in locations with little or no economic comparative advantage in production. At least until recently, credit in kind for fertiliser on maize was an economic package. The fertiliser subsidy compensated during the late 1980's for a price of maize that was not always aligned with increases in the general price level. The relative price of maize to fertiliser fluctuated widely in the 1985-90 period, but did not deteriorate markedly until the 1989-90 season. In this season, the price of maize rose by 127%, whereas prices of urea and compound D, increased by 300% and 440%, respectively.

The seasonal credit assured access to inputs of fertiliser for maize producers in locations where such service support and comparative advantage in maize production were uncertain. The supervised credit, highly subsideised with negative real interest rates exceeding 50% in the 1987-89 period, raised the probability of timely delivery of input (and assured easy repayment in king). But assisting small producers in distant locations means that maize production was encouraged in sites where input delivery was uncertain and not assured, and where maize had little or no comparative advantage as a cash crop, once project support and/or subsidies on transport and fertiliser would be removed.

Group formation and participation. The rationale for organising farmers into groups was to achieve cost-effectiveness in the use of credit, transport and farm input supply and marketing services. Once groups were formed, credit would be extended for bankable projects. The group would borrow as an entity and use social collateral as security. Approval of subsequent loans would depend on the group's repayment performance. A similar system had been used by ZFC FS, under the Cooperative Credit Scheme, with formally registered primary cooperative societies as the target groups. But, reportedly, there was no defined ZFC FS strategy and time table set for achieving such transition. Modules were not developed for the gradual progression of groups towards more participation and for gaining an increasing measure of participation.

The group promotions approach has been quite successful in terms of quantity of members enrolled and credit uptake and recovery at least until shortly before the MTE. But the attempt to create a cadre of credit agents that would deal at the village level with issues beyond rural and financial intervention has failed. This means that the regular government extension services will have to handle these non credit promotion aspects.

Input supply programme. The input supply component, although in principle sound, has had its limitations. With a low economic demand for farm inputs in the project districts, local funds generated were less than the local project costs to be met. In line with intentions, farm inputs (except for fertiliser) sold nationally, outside of the project area, have contributed to generate required local funding. But there are three limitations to the operation of this mechanism. Firstly, it presumes that foreign exchange for the import of farm inputs remains scarce. Secondly, there needs to be an economic demand for such imported inputs; the market demand for inputs directed at the target group has to be very carefully assessed. Thirdly, because of high inflation rates, profitability, savings mobilization and working capital is eroding; and the resultant-cash flow problems have led to the suspension of disbursements to ZCF.

Roads and processing plants. The performance of the roads and the processing plant programmes have not been in line with expectations. Although culverts and drifts were constructed, a mere km 67 of roads or 7% of target had been built at the time of MTE. The three multipurpose processing plants have been established, but two have proven uneconomic and/or have a too low capacity utilisation, the exception is the hammermill.

M&E Limited information base. The information base did not materialise with which to adjust project design. Rapid diagnostic surveys from the field could have furnished the necessary data with which to redesign the project at an earlier stage than the MTE to minimize the cost of continued distortions in production. But the M&E unit failed to deliver farm level data and information on adoption rates. The Management Information System (MIS) never became operational. As too often is the case, the project was implemented in line with assumptions that were not being tested on reality.

Effects sssessment and sustainability

Beneficiaries. The project has had a positive impact on smallholders in the project area, who have received advice, access to inputs and some services. In a situation with a severe scarcity of foreign exchange, inputs have been targeted reasonably successfully to smallholders in the project area, estimated at 73% of farm chemicals and 54% of equipment.

Effects on beneficiaries income. Cotton production has risen rapidly in Eastern Province in part because of insecticides. Cotton inputs were supplied through the SSRP for the 1990/91 season. LINTCO reports that the use of these inputs has increased cotton yields by over 50% and raised quality, which increases price by 3% . Reportedly, an incremental 4 000 ton of seed cotton was produced from 9 866 hectares and was directly due to the inputs supplied by the project. The net benefits from production were estimated at USD 0.9 million. Inputs for other crops have been procured through the project, valued at USD 1.6 million by the MTE. Benefits of these inputs have not been estimated but are likely to be satisfactory.

Effects on nutrition and food security. In 1990, Luapula province, within the project area, had the worest record countrywide in malnutrition. Though provincial level in nutrition data depict Eastern province to be marginally better than Luapula, household data reveal wide spread malnutrition in Eastern Province too. Initially, project aims of improving the food security situation and living standards appear to have been directed at the household level, as reflected in the kind of data to be included in the baseline study. However, as the project was developed at macro level, food security issues have taken precedence and activities have been directed toward the interests of more prosperous farmers. Despite the absence of quantitative data for assessing project progress on Household Food Security (HFS), the Mission was able to obtain indications in one region where project's activities have directly influenced household food supplies. Farmers in the Chama valley area, who received project loans for hybrid maize production, reported having retained the total production for home consumption. Repayment was made in kind using groundnuts, a food crop grown in surplus quantities according to the farmers. A logical conclusion that both larger food quantities and diversification of food at household level have become possible.

Specific effects on women. The target group conforms to the criteria stated for gender, with about one third of those targeted in the two provinces being women. This is in line with the actual proportions of women in the rural population according to the MTE survey conducted prior to the evaluation. This is also consistent with the SAR estimates of 35% of female headed households at national level, though women account for up to 75% of smallhodlers in many rural areas.

Environmental effects. Beneficial effects on the environment have been anticipated from the project interventions. The introduction of improved and tested farming systems would result in better land use as compared to the traditional shifting cultivation and more efficient soil and water conservation practices. However, the MTE reported that current research in Lake Bangweulu in Luapula, which is one of the important lakes in Zambia, indicates that "there is a general trend in declining catches and in mean fish lengths encountered". This situation is not resulting from the project, but it is essential to lay out precautions against any further deterioration.

Effects on Local/national Economic Development Trends. The project has contributed to production increases of cash crops (cotton, and maize) and food crops (cassava); gaining and saving foreign exchange. The provincial economy would benefit from these increases, border trade and feeder roads (though implementation is unduely slow). It has also benefitted from the support provided by the project to the cooperative organization both financially and commercially.

Extension. With continuing high deficit on domestic and external accounts, the standard T&V system is not justified, neither in terms of productivity nor in terms of recurrent costs. There is little reason to believe that the Government can continue to fund recurrent costs once the project is terminated, nor can the vehicles supplied under the project be refinanced once written off. A different type of extension system, more effective and financially sustainable, has to be sought for.

Credit. The focus on credit for high input use goes against farmers' natural inclination to progress stepwise across seasons from zero through low to high input use. In fact, the emphasis on credit-available for only a minority of farmers - discourages the diffusion of stepwise improvements from season to season over a longer time period.

Main issues and recommendations

Focus project resources and decentralize.

Overstretching of management resources is an important problem. A decision should be taken whether to remain in the Eastern province or to concentrate on Luapula Province, a preferred option for all activities except possibly for roads. Such a decision would focus the project managerial and financial resources and lead to proper targeting of project interventions. If project activities should continue in Eastern Province, then it should be in support of others donors interventions and integration of the development activities in the province. This should be preceded with proper need assessment diagnosis of farming problems and a well laid out extension strategy.

The PFU has been over-extended in executing its functions including procurement, monitoring and prioritization of project activities. It would be more appropriate to decentralize through appointment of deputy coordinators for each province. These deputies would liaise directly, as necessary, with the PFU. They would facilitate and expedite activities in each province so as to improve management by objective, participation processes and overall project performance. For further consolidation there is a need for a management advisor in the short-term as well as consultancy services in aspects of need assessment and diagnostic studies.

Support cooperative movement.

Fundamental to the design of the project was the rehabilitation of services through the cooperative movement based on real participation of small holders and independence from Government directives; but the policy agreed upon at negotiations was not adopted. The Government has taken steps to ensure the autonomy of the Cooperative movement and to strengthen the participatory processes as originally intended in project design. IFAD and Government should have an active dialogue to ensure the implementation and effectiveness of these policies and the success of the project.

Design a structured process to participation.

A more structured approach to participation at the district and community levels is necessary. The project should define criteria for eligibility, selection and approval based on economic potential, need of assisting IFAD target group, continued participation reflected in demonstrated self-help activities and/or contributions. The project should build upon the group promotion effort already achieved. A district development plan can be formulated based on the needs of communities where groups are already established. Within districts, subsets of selected communities would provide the focal point for project interventions. This effort should be supported by setting-up teams of service providers at the district level.

Four interdependent steps are required to initiate a planning and implementation based on a participatory process: these are creation of awareness, a need assessment and rapid diagnostic surveys, identification and prioritization of activities and series of workshops for the technical and economic review at these development plans. This process of engineering community development plans by district based on participation and local commitment would become a major priority for the PFU. The approach proposed requires a certain attitudinal change for field staff, in the sense that local communities and farmers would become active in planning and resource allocation.

Increase smallholder productivity.

Promotion of Low Input Technical Packages. Support is required to promote sustainable low input systems since present systems are not considered viable. Possibilities of intensification within the cassava garden system, the introduction of alley tree crop farming, small ruminants and liming represent priority areas which should be studied.

Review the Method of Extension. The extension methodology should be reviewed, the T&V system be reformed and more use be made of mass media. Extension must devote more attention to identify impact points in improving yields and management performance. The MTE survey confirmed that small farmers' demand for improved information on crop husbandry and farming systems is significant. A proposal for a pilot extension programme should be prepared and it should emulate the try-outs with farmer representatives ongoing inter alia in Zimbabwe, reportedly with good results. Fishery extension should be included in the review. Long term plans should include the source of funding of extension staff, which should be at least partly funded by the user.

Feed back and diagnosis within extension is limited and the project should set up two diagnostic teams within the extension system in Luapula. They would have to design recommendations that take into account the spatial dimension, i.e. transportation costs in marketing, assist in generating a flexible multi-season extension strategy that pays special attention to single female headed households. They shwould conduct need assessments and train other extension staff in the use of diagnostic techniques.

Effective utilization of credit and development funds.

Credit funds should be handed over to the ZCF CS and seasonal credit be shifted for medium term credit for tools, but with strict follow up of eligibility criteria. Credit should be provided to single headed households to acquire small ruminants. Lending under the Development Fund should be broadened to incorporate micro projects for the setting-up of simple market structures and lending for trading activities by women should be encouraged.

The Input supply funding mechanism needs careful redesign to ensure that imports reflect the actual demand of the target population for farm inputs, and that the benefiting institution is given incentives to operate efficiently. This has not been achieved in the project.

Effective monitoring and evaluation.

The monitoring cum evaluation of the project needs to be reestablished with first priority for creating a MIS (for process evaluation) and second priority for impact monitoring. Data are required about trends in farmers' resource endowments, adjustments and coping strategies. Data from the representative households should include preferences with regard to overall needs, priorities for investment, extent of own contributions and participation.

Lessons learned

Participation. A more structured approach to participation and planning at the district and community levels is necessary. The project relies on district agencies for implementation, but these are not trained and supported in setting priorities on the basis of needs and production potential. There is little evidence of any attempt to carry out such an approach in the project, and no call for it in the project design. Projects that intend to use field agencies for implementation in a participatory mode need to conceptualise and set out the detailed design with which to achieve this objective.

Importance of needs analysis, targeting and Specificity. The Project has undertaken a complex programme but interventions have not been well directed to ensure complementarity between the different support activities. A principal reason is the absence of continued needs assessments with which to target beneficiaries and interventions. For example trends in socio-economic conditions within the project area need to be assessed for project design to address primary issues and constraints. Likewise extension recommendations need to be targeted according to the location of households, especially if agricultural marketing is liberalised. The use of high input systems to produce low value bulky crops, like maize, will not be economic especially in remote areas with difficult access.

Multi-season (year) growth strategies. The demand for credit normally exceeds by far supply and alternative development pathways should be identified and adopted where appropriate, based on surpluses generated for continuous re-investment without external help. This requires a multi-season/year approach in extension advice.

Viability and Relevance of technology. The project design did not set out the recommendations for the extension service to promote crop diversification. Without assured delivery of relevant recommendations, project impact will remain uncertain. Even when technology is available, an economic appraisal is required before it is introduced. For example, the multi-purpose processing plants were found too expensive to be operated by local cooperatives, returns are low or negative; moreover the technical sophistication of the plant in combination with limited market demand makes it impossible to maintain it with local resources. Such an appraisal will have to explore also the capacity utilization of plants already operating in the project area.

 

 

LANGUAGES: English

Programme de redressement agricole I - Projet Oasis (1992)

Mauritania  
abril 1992

Résumé du rapport d'évaluation intermédiaire

La zone du projet comprend un vaste espace constitué par 5 régions (wilayas) sur les 12 que compte le pays. Les oasis, environ 350, sont éparpillées, éloignées des principaux centres urbains, à l'écart des voies de communication et souvent inaccessibles. La mise en valeur des oasis est inégale selon les régions. Elle est relativement intense dans l'Adrar et le nord Tagant et encore timide dans l'Assaba et les deux Hodhs. La production oasienne (dattes, céréales, légumineuses) représenterait 30% de la production agricole du pays, occupant plus de 10.000 familles et contribuant ainsi à la subsistance d'une population évaluée à 230.000 personnes. Plusieurs années de sécheresse, dans les années 70, ont décimé le bétail, accru de façon dramatique l'exode rural et profondément perturbé le système oasien du fait de l'abaissement des nappes phréatiques. Les oasis ont été l'objet d'un regain d'intérêt de la part des populations nomades affectées par la perte du cheptel.

Conception et objectifs du projet

Groupe cible

Le groupe cible du projet est constitué par les populations oasiennes (230.000 personnes, près de 11.000 exploitations). Cette population est essentiellement constituée d'éleveurs nomades ayant perdu leur cheptel, de petits agriculteurs et de paysans sans terre.

Objectifs et composantes

Le projet a pour objectif principal la réhabilitation du secteur agricole après la longue sécheresse des années soixante dix.

Ses objectifs spécifiques sont:

  • l'accroissement de la production agricole, production de dattes, de henné et de légumes;
  • la lutte contre la désertification en arrêtant la dégradation des ressources dans les oasis;
  • l'amélioration des conditions de vie des populations et l'appui à la sédentarisation des nomades;
  • le renforçement des institutions qui fournissent des services aux exploitants et qui interviennent dans la prise de décision et la planification (FND et service du MDR).

Les principales composantes du projet sont:

  • des investissements à l'exploitation: fourniture à crédit de produits (ciment, fer, tuyaux PVC) pour le creusement de 3.100 puits et leur équipement de 710 motopompes et de système d'exhaure à traction animale.
  • la protection des oasis: fourniture à crédit de 200 km de grillage en vue de la protection de 1.660 ha d'oasis, protection de 16 oasis contre l'ensablement par la stabilisation des dunes et leur fixation biologique par la plantation de 1.200 ha d'espèces forestières;
  • la fourniture d'intrants aux exploitations: placement au comptant ou à crédit de semences, engrais, produits phytosanitaires;
  • la commercialisation: fourniture à crédit à des coopératives de 2 chambres froides et 4 camionettes pick-up;
  • le renforcement des institutions par le financement de constructions, d'équipements, de moyens de transport et de frais de fontionnement;
  • la formation et l'équipement d'artisans puisatiers et la formation d'agriculteurs;
  • une assistance technique sous forme de 200 mois/homme d'expert et 18 mois/homme de techniciens;
  • la réalisation d'études et d'expérimentations intéressant le développement oasien.

L'exécution des diverses composantes devait être confiée aux organismes existants (FND, DA, DPN, DH) dont la coordination devait être assurée par l'unité de gestion du projet. Le FND, à travers la Direction du crédit agricole, devait gérer le crédit agricole et l'approvisionnement en intrants, la DPN exécuter le volet protection contre l'ensablement, la DH le suivi des nappes et la DA tout ce qui se rapporte au développement agricole (études, essais, expérimentation, formation, vulgarisation, protection phytosanitaire). Un comité consultatif présidé par le Secrétaire général du MDR devait superviser l'exécution du projet.

Effets attendus et hypothèses

Les bénéficiaires du projet étaient estimés à environ 4.000 familles dont les revenus devaient augmenter entre 130 % et 240 % grâce à une production additionnelle de 3.300 t de dattes, 7.260 t de fourrages, 64 t de céréales, 30 t de légumineuses et 1.000 t de légumes. Les autres bénéfices du projet portaient sur l'amélioration des performances des institutions participant à la mise en oeuvre du projet.

L'hypothèse à la base du projet était que la mobilisation des populations permettrait de mieux tirer profit des ressources que renferment les oasis et qui sont notoirement sous-exploitées.

Évaluation

Evolution du contexte en cours d'exécution

L'exécution du projet s'est déroulée dans une conjoncture particulière marquée essentiellement par:

  • des ajustements structurels au niveau macro-économique;
  • une relative amélioration des conditions climatiques par rapport à la sécheresse qui a sévi dans le pays depuis le début des années 70;
  • l'invasion acridienne de 1987, 1988 et 1989;
  • le conflit entre la Mauritanie et le Sénégal en avril 1989;
  • la crise du golfe en 1990-91.

Réalisations du projet

Ont été fournis des crédits pour le creusement de 2.212 puits soit 105 millions d'UM, des crédit pour 662 motopompes soit 25 millions d'UM, des crédits pour 340 km de grillages. Le nombre de crédits consentis n'est pas forcément égal à celui du nombre de puits effectivement creusés ou de motopompes effectivement acquises.

Les quantités d'intrants agricoles cédées aux agriculteurs ont été très limitées (2,3 millions d'UM).

La protection contre l'ensablement à concerné 32 oasis. Cela a été permis par l'aide alimentaire du PAM (175,75 millions d'UM). Le succès de cette opération est attesté entre autre par une demande croissante des populations.

La protection phytosanitaire est restée rudimentaire: lutte chimique avec utilisation de soufre sur les palmiers et lutte biologique par le lacher de 800 coccinelles.

Ont été formés: 115 puisatiers qui n'ont pas reçu de crédit d'équipement, 1164 agriculteurs qui n'ont pas été suivis par la suite, 47 agents d'encadrement, 140 femmes (conservation et stockage des légumes, techniques culinaires).

La vulgarisation a consisté en la formation de 26 associations féminines et l'implantation de 56 parcelles de démonstration pour les cultures sous palmiers.

Le suivi des nappes s'est limité à la préparation de l'installation de 125 points de mesures répartis sur 95 oasis et à l'inventaire des points d'eau dans les oasis de la zone d'intervention du projet.

L'appui aux institutions a porté sur des investissements (construction, acquisition de véhicules et d'équipement de bureau) et sur le financement de frais de fonctionnement de la Cellule de Coordination et des organismes d'intervention.

Il n'y a eu ni étude ni expérimentation. Aucune réalisation dans le domaine de l'exhaure animale.

L'unité de suivi évaluation (USE) a effectué 5 missions sur le terrain et a participé à l'évaluation à mi parcours. Dans un cas comme dans l'autre les résultats pourtant pertinents n'ont pas été pris en compte par la CC.

Appréciation des effets du projet et de leur pérennité

Il n'existe pas de données qui permettent d'évaluer l'impact du projet. Cependant un accroissement de la production de dattes et de la production maraichère est perceptible. L'impact économique peut aussi être apprécié à travers le regain d'intérêt pour les oasis et pour les transactions sur la terre et les palmiers.

Socialement, le développement des oasis parait avoir permis d'améliorer les conditions de vie de groupes sociaux autrefois dominés. Le dynamisme des groupements précoopératifs est prometteur.

Effets sur les revenus et les conditions de vie des femmes: le regain d'intérêt pour les oasis a eu pour effet d'accroitre la participation des femmes aux activités de production et de protection des oasis. Cette participation plus grande a renforcé le rôle des femmes comme agents de développement. On ignore cependant dans quelle mesure ce surcroit d'activité a permis aux femmes un meilleur accès aux résultats.

Effets sur l'environnement et sur la base de ressource: les travaux de lutte contre l'ensablement et la protection de 32 oasis ont eu un impact écologique positif sur le milieu naturel. L'utilisation importante des motopompes présente un risque d'abaissement de la nappe.

Appréciation de la durabilité du projet: sur le plan institutionnel, l'impact du projet est décevant. La DCA, le CAT et le centre de formation de Sani n'apparaissent pas viables (voir para 29).

Principaux problèmes rencontrés

Une faible prise en compte des besoins des bénéficiaires et des livraisons de matériels inadaptés

Les motopompes fournies, de qualité médiocre ne sont pas adaptées aux conditions difficiles de cette région: oasis dispersés et d'accès difficile, température élevée, vents de sables fréquents, milieu très sec et poussiéreux, etc.. De plus, ce matériel est livré sans formation préalable des utilisateurs. L'entretien est donc très mal assuré, les pannes fréquentes et l'usure du matériel prématurée. Les mailles du grillage livré étaient souvent trop larges et le nombre de piquets insuffisant. Les "paquets" de produits fournis (ciment, fer, tuyaux PVC) se sont avéré inadaptés aux besoins. l'approvisionnement en intrants n'a pas bénéficié d'une vulgarisation préalable et n'a pas tenu compte des besoins des utilisateurs ; les trois quarts des produits acquis par la DCA en 1990 seraient encore en stock.

Les actions de développement agricole (vulgarisation, formation, protection phytosanitaire) n'ont pas bénéficié d'une conception d'ensemble. Elles auraient pâti d'une certaine improvisation, de l'imprécision des objectifs et des messages techniques, de la faible qualification du personnel et de l'ignorance des systèmes de production oasiens. Leur impact est très modeste;

27. Un taux de recouvrement des crédits très faible: 26%

Plusieurs explications peuvent être avancées:

  • l'UBD n'assume aucun risque. Elle n'est pas incitée à recouvrer les crédits oasis;
  • les agences régionales ne sont pas convenablement outillées pour le recouvrement (personnel, matériel, formation);
  • la dispertion des oasis, les difficultés d'accès, la concentration des recouvrements durant une période très courte rendent à la fois difficiles et couteuses les campagnes de recouvrement;
  • l'altération de l'image de l'UDB et de sa crédiblité à partir 1988/89 et l'assimilation par certains bénéficiaires du crédit à un don;
  • la mauvaise qualité de certains matériaux fournis, des coûts parfois très élevés et des délais de livraison parfois trop longs ont découragé beaucoup de gens.

Les faibles performances des institutions

La cellule de coordination (CC) s'est heurtée à de grandes difficultés pour maîtriser la gestion et la comptabilité du projet. Elle n'est pas parvenue à assurer correctement la coordination entre les intervenants ni à inscrire dans l'action de ceux-ci la préoccupation d'exécution des actions du projet comme un tout cohérent. Les efforts faits pour instaurer un système de suivi-évaluation sont méritoires mais se sont avérés insuffisants. La CC n'a pas été à même d'utiliser les résultats du suivi et de l'évaluation à mi-parcours pour améliorer la gestion et la connaissance du groupe cible. Les structures créées au sein de la Direction de l'agriculture (DA) destinées au développement oasien, (le Centre d'appui technique CAT et le Centre de formation de Sani) ne paraissent pas viables.

Les espoirs mis dans la création de la Direction du crédit agricole (DCA) comme instrument de gestion et de développement du crédit agricole pour les oasis et pour l'ensemble du pays ont été déçus. Malgré les efforts d'équipement et de fonctionnement consentis depuis 6 ans (197 millions d'UM), la DCA n'est toujours pas viable. Ses frais de fonctionnement (162 millions d'UM) sont disproportionnés par rapport à ses performances (234 millions d'encours). Elle a pâti de la faible qualification de son personnel, de son absence d'autonomie au sein du FND puis de l'UBD et des problèmes de trésorerie et autres qu'affronte cette dernière institution. La DCA n'a pas été en mesure enfin d'adopter et de mettre en pratique une organisation appropriée et, notamment une structure comptable conforme aux exigences d'une saine gestion administrative et financière. Tout cela pourrait expliquer,dans une certaine mesure, les performances médiocres du recouvrement du crédit.

Les réalisations financières font apparaître un coût institutionnel élevé avec 54% du total déboursé dont 16% pour les investissements et 38% pour le fonctionnement (personnel,carburant et pièces détachées); les investissements pouvant être considérés comme productifs (développement agricole) représenteraient 39% dont seulement 17% seraient directement destinés aux populations oasiennes.

Recommandations et leçons à tirer

Il est recommandé que des actions futures soient orientées vers l'organisation des populations oasiennes de manière à ce que chaque oasis d'intervention puisse être représentée par une structure qui serait l'interlocuteur du projet pour le développement de l'oasis comme unité de référence pour la conception et la mise en oeuvre des actions de développement. C'est à travers la création de ces structures, leur fonctionnement et avec leur collaboration que devrait être entreprise de façon systématique l'étude du milieu oasien.

L'intervention du projet se ferait sur une base contractuelle où tout apport de celui-ci serait conditionné par une contrepartie des oasiens qui, avec l'assistance du projet, définiraient leurs besoins, programmeraient dans le temps leurs actions et les modalités de leur réalisation (dans le domaine du développement agricole mais aussi dans ceux de la santé, de l'éducation et des services).

Les actions de développement seraient conçues oasis par oasis de manière cohérente. L'efficience de certaines actions comme par exemple, la protection phytosanitaire en serait accrue. Si une plus grande initiative de proposition, d'organisation et d'action est laissée aux populations oasiennes et à leurs organisations, l'exécution du projet devrait se faire selon "l'approche programme" susceptible de mieux tenir compte des contraintes et des réalités locales mais aussi, de mieux capter les initiatives locales. Cette approche permettra ainsi de mieux tenir compte des diverses vocations régionales (agricoles dans l'Adrar, pastorales et agricoles dans l'Assaba et les deux Hodhs).

Comme il est apparu que les formes classiques de crédit agricole ne sont pas adaptées aux conditions oasiennes, d'autres formes de collecte et de mobilisation des ressources seraient à explorer. Le projet pourrait par exemple, consentir un fonds de roulement à chacune des oasis d'intervention à charge pour celle-ci de mobiliser les ressources existantes dans l'oasis et de réalimenter le fonds,dans le cadre d'un programme annuel de développement de l'oasis.

D'une manière générale, un plus grand travail d'adaptation des techniques à proposer aux oasiens est nécessaire aussi bien pour l'exhaure à traction animale, la protection phytosanitaire, l'utilisation des motopompes que pour l'économie de l'eau ou les techniques culturales. Ce travail d'adaptation devra permettre de renforcer l'autonomie des oasiens, réduire leur dépendance à l'égard des services extérieurs (éloignés, incertains et coûteux) et de mieux valoriser les compétences locales.

La viabilité à long terme du développement oasien dépendra de la capacité des populations à gérer, mettre en valeur et sauvegarder leurs ressources de manière relativement autonome. L'intervention des services publics dans ce domaine devrait être prudente et limitée dans le temps. C'est ainsi, par exemple, que le suivi des nappes devrait être assuré par les oasiens qui l'intégreront progressivement à leurs préoccupations.

Pour le FIDA, deux leçons de portée générale peuvent être tirées de cette évaluation. La première concerne la démarche de programmation et d'intervention à adopter vis-à-vis des communautés bénéficiaires. Dans les projets à composantes multiples exécutés par des institutions différentes et comportant des actions d'aménagement de terroirs, le développement de services collectifs et du crédit, il y a souvent de gros risques d'interventions non coordonées et parfois contradictoires des différents partenaires institutionnels. Seule une démarche de programmation participative et contractuelle au niveau local permet d'éviter ces inconvénients. C'est pourquoi il est nécessaire d'identifier au niveau de chaque communauté des interlocuteurs représentatifs (désignés par les villageois), d'élaborer avec eux des programmes d'activité intégrés et cohérents au niveau local (pour l'ensemble des composantes du projet), d'exécuter ces actions sur la base d'un contrat passé entre la communauté (ou le groupement) et le projet. Ces programmes d'activités localisés et ces contrats doivent constituer la base du processus de programmation annuel et trimestriel du projet et de l'ensemble de ses partenaires institutionels.

La deuxième leçon, déjà bien connue du FIDA, est relative au mode de financement des investissements et de la production dans les régions enclavées et trés peu développées. Dans de telles région le "tout à crédit" est une solution trés risquée qui peut compromettre par son échec la viabilité de l'ensemble du processus de développement engagé par le projet. La politique d'allocation de crédits devrait être beaucoup plus prudente, se limiter aux activités dont la rentabilité financière et la sécurité sont clairement établies et à la condition préalable qu'un service bancaire opérationnel et efficace soit mis en place. Des taux d'impayés de l'ordre de 75%, comme ceux qu'a connu le projet oasis ne compromettent pas seulement la survie du service de crédit instauré par le projet, mais tout développement futur du marché financier rural dans la région.

 

LANGUAGES: English